In the last years whenever the Frankfurt Skyliners visited the scenic city Ludwigsburg to tangle with their Beko BBL team, it was near the end of the season, flowers blooming, cafs starting to bustle, the soccer Bundesliga title race getting heated up, mini dresses popping up more and more on the street and Quantez Robertson still having enough energy unleashing his explosive flight to the basket with no signs of fatigue at the end of the season. However in the 2012-2013 season, the Fraport Skyliners had an early date with the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg with the dog days of summer having ended, the NFL just underway, the MLB ready for a perfect October finish, ex Beko BBL players Chris Copeland, Brian Roberts and Stephen Dennis preparing for NBA training camps and the Fraport Skyliners clashing on the most important German holiday the Unification day on October third. No game is a cat walk in the Beko BBL as the league continues to get more and more competitive in the last years, but having such an early date in Ludwigsburg was a bit unusual considering how the Beko BBL game plan had been set up the last years, but the excitement of the start of the season blocked any memory for Quantez Robertson about having played there at the end of the season the last years. I doesnt matter when we play them at the start or end of season. This was just another game and our first of the season. The only thing that I will remember from this game is that we just played bad, stressed Quantez Robertson. The 28 point performance by ex NBA player Roger Powell seemed like a century away and long forgotten form the last game win of the season in the 2010-2011 season as the Fraport Skyliners had lost the last two games in a row.
The Fraport Skyliners wanted to get on the right track right in the first game as they were drawn with a tough schedule with seven of the first ten games on the road, but had little fortune in Ludwigsburg getting outplayed for 40 minutes by the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg losing 74-56. It was one of those games where nothing went right and everything went right for the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg. After a 14-0 run in the second quarter, the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg were able to extend their lead to 20 plus points and never looked back stifling the Fraport Skyliners with an aggressive defense never letting them find their rhythm. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg played solid offense, but it was their defense which was lauded most by head coach Steven Key. I am most proud about our focus and concentration on defense. We didnt allow them any easy buckets at the start. We noticed early that they had no dominant player in the post and concentrated on giving them the pick and pop more. We did a great job on never letting them get in their comfort zone, stressed Steven Key. After the game seeing the long faces of the Fraport Skyliners told the story of a game that went totally wrong for the 2004 Beko BBL champion. A loss like that is even harder to digest when you played ok defense, but couldnt muster any kind of rhythm on offense. Nothing worked for us on offense. We had no spacing and didnt play inside enough. Playing against the switch it looked like it was the first time we had ever played against it. We didnt use the mismatches well and werent able to defend the way we did against Wurzburg, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein.
With the jump ball only moments away, one could sense the excitement of the new Beko BBL season growing and growing within the last hour before the start of the game. One could see Lurchi riding around the court on his scooter maybe dreaming of the 2012 Beko BBL allstar game where he had all his mascot buddies in his living room for basketball chowder, Zach Peacocok who had flown in from Atlanta a day earlier and still having jet lag was hitting jumper after jumper in warm ups as if he had been on the team for ages and an abundance of Lucca Staiger jerseys were seen being worn by middle aged women. The Fraport Skyliners were without American Devin Gibson who had a knee problem and Ivan Elliot was back in the line up for the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg after missing most of the pre season with an injury. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg didnt waste anytime showing the Fraport Skyliners quickly what they were capable of doing on offense as they raced out on a 9-2 lead. They drilled three three pointers in a row from ex Skyliner Max Weber, Joshua Jackson and ex Iowa State guard Lucca Staiger. Johnathon Jones was the only bright spot for the Fraport Sklyiners early on as he scored twice in the lane, but the fierce fire power of the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg kept firing away at Frankfurt as they kept hitting shots after shots as if they had been practicing on these rims 24 hours a day. Kammron Taylor (188-G-84, agency: Edge Sports, college: Wisconsin) who is playing in his ninth country nailed a three pointer and versatile Max Weber another jumper as Frankfurt trailed 13-5. The last thing that any one expects Quantez Robertson to do is score much, but in this game he had to take on the offensive load and produced. Robertson hit a three pointer cutting the Ludwigsburg lead to 13-8. However no matter what Frankfurt did to stay close to Ludwigsburg, the home team kept hitting on all cylinders as Taylor hit two more jumpers and John Turek made a jumper as Frankfurt trailed 20-11. The Fraport Sklyiner closed out the first quarter strong with a 5-2 run to trail 22-16 after one quarter. The two PRO B players Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein shined. Barthel gave the perfect example of a mal nourished work horse battling down low getting two offensive rebounds and hammering home the ball on the third try and Klein nailed a three pointer. They hit so well in the first quarter that we quickly got depressed. Tez quickly got three fouls which hurt us on defense. We were able to come back at the end of the first quarter to stay in game, stressed Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg were shooting 82% from the field and 80% form outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 43% from the field and 50% from outside. Ludwigsburg had the seven to four rebound lead, but six turnovers while Frankfurt had four turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners stayed on the heel of the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg cutting the lead to 24-21 as Dion Dowell hit a three pointer and Jones showed his quickness scoring inside. However then came the turning point in the game as the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg rolled on to a 14-0 run to lead 38-21. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg played very strong in this phase scoring in so many different ways and getting to the foul line. Ex Wake Forest center David Weaver scored inside sneaking in back door retrieving a perfect lob pass from Ivan Elliot. Besnik Bekteshi gave valuable production form the bench scoring inside, Turek made a steal catching Frankfurt napping on transition defense as he fed Staiger for a fast break dunk, then Staiger scored on a fade away from the wing and Turek made a mid distance jumper. Jones and Turek traded buckets at the end of the second quarter. Jones made a dunk on the fast break and Elliot socred inside as Danilo Barthel got no help defense. At halftime the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg trailed 41-23. The Skyliners fell apart in this quarter. They continued to have no rhythm on offense and practiced more one on one plays, stressed basketball expert Stephen Klauss. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg were shooting 57% from the field and 36$ from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 35% from the field and 31% from the three point line. Ludwigsburg had the big 19-11 rebound edge and eight turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers.
The third quarter didnt get any better for the Fraport Skyliners. The problems didnt have to do with concentration, but it seemed more like they wanted to do too much which kept leading to easy mistakes and turnovers. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg continued to be very consistent on offense strutting out on a 12-2 run to lead 53-25. Ludwigsburg was getting good ball movement which resulted in good shots. Joshua Jackson and Wayne Bernard hit three pointers, Turek nailed a fade away jumper and Taylor kept scoring this time on the fast break. Ludwigsburg kept up the lead while Robertson tried any which way to get the Skyliners back in the game scoring inside twice with his athletic flights. The Fraport Skyliners continued to be as stiff as cement while the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg continued to spread the floor and get shots all over. Down the stretch, the Fraport Skyliners got some production form new Skyliner Zach Peacock hitting two jumpers. Peacock is long, strong and athletic. I think that he can be a weapon for Frankfurt if he plays hard, warned ex MBC guard Wayne Bernard. After 30 minutes, the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg still led extremely comfortably 60-35. Frankfurt wasnt together and continued to shoot bad. Ludwigsburg continued to defend very aggressively making much pressure giving Frankfurt problems being patient, explained Steven Klauss. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg were still shooting at a very high percentage with 55% from the field and 47% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 32% from the field and 24% from the parking lot. Ludwigsburg continued to rule the boards 29-18, but had 14 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.
The game was as good as decided in the fourth quarter, but the lead was simply too high for the Fraport Skyliners too be able to turn the game around despite it being their strongest quarter scoring 21 points. Ludwigsburg was able to keep the lead at 28 points 68-40 with some Turek buckets, but with the game decided, the Fraport Skyliners closed out the game strong with a 16-6 run. Robertson continued to be the scoring weapon that Frankfurt needed on a day where no other offensive production loomed. Robertson had a dunk, three pointer and some free throws. Dowell also helped his stat sheet with a lay up and jumper. After 40 minutes the Fraport Skyliners quickly came to the realization that this was a game that quickly needed to be forgotten. Ludwigsburg deserved to win. They fought and defended well for 40 minutes. They were able to play their game and shot well. Frankfurt had no stability on offense and will have to shoot better and have less turnovers in Artland, added Steven Klauss. We were ready on defense and were able to make adjustments on defense and exploited the mismatches very well, added Wayne Bernard.
The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg were led by Kammron Taylor with 20 points. John Turek and Lucca Staiger combined for 11 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and five steals. Despite his five steals, he wasnt too impressed by his defense. I have been top scorer before. I made some shots and got to the free throw line. My defense was ok, but it could have been better. I was able to read the passing lanes well on those five steals, stressed Quantez Robertson. Johnathon Jones chipped in with 11 points. Konstantin Klein made his Beko BBL debut finishing with four points and three rebounds in 17 minutes. I was still a bit tired from the 36 minute PRO B game that I played yesterday. It was nice to play 17 minutes, but I made many mistakes. This wont be a nice memory after a bad game, added Konstantin Klein. Despite this opening game poor performance by the Fraport Skyliners, there is no need to panic. Frankfurt doesnt seem to be complete yet. They still have to put the pieces together. It was the first game and the season is long, commented Wayne Bernard. One thing that you have to like about Quantez Robertson is his straight forward logic which is about as normal as one of his pounding dunks when talking to the gregarious American about the teams chances in Artland. If we play aggressive on offense and defense and execute on offense, then we should be able to win, warned Quantez Robertson. The Artland Dragons host the Fraport Skyliners October sixth at 20:00.
When Shavon Shields (201-G-94) was born in 1994, his dad Will had just started his professional football career which would span 13 years and an amazing 12 pro Bowl appearances, but now 22 years later, his dad will be able to sit back and watch his son Shavon embark on a professional basketball career in Germany with the Fraport Skyliners. The club gave him a one year deal. His dad Will did the dirty work in the Kansas City Cheifs offense blocking and producing holes for the running backs... [read more]
When Shavon Shields (201-G-94) was born in 1994, his dad Will had just started his professional football career which would span 13 years and an amazing 12 pro Bowl appearances, but now 22 years later, his dad will be able to sit back and watch his son Shavon embark on a professional basketball career in Germany with the Fraport Skyliners. The club gave him a one year deal. His dad Will did the dirty work in the Kansas City Cheifs offense blocking and producing holes for the running backs like Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson to weave and gain yardage successfully while son Shavon will be responsible for scoring production as a rookie in Frankfurt. Shavon Shields (201-G-94) is a 22 year old 201cm forward from Olathe, Kansas that also has the Danish citzenship as his mother is Danish and had an illustrious college basketball career at Nebraska (NCAA) from 2012-2016 playing a total of 118 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 16.9ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 79.0%."Shavon was a 4 year starter at Nebraska in one of best divisions. He was captain there and comes from a big sports family. His play and academics are witness to a good charachter. He is an allrounder and tough. He does many small things not seen on the floor", expressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert. Shields was very consistent as a senior scoring in double figures in 26 of 29 games. He had some monster games against Purdue with 32 points, 28 points against powerhouse Michigan State and 28 points against ex Fraport Skyliner Anthony King's school Miami.
Shields started his basketball career at Nebraska in 2012 and as a freshman played 28 games averaging 8.6ppg, 5.1rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 67.6%. In his second season he played 30 games averaging 12.4ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%. In his junior season he played 31 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 19.5%, FT: 82.7%. After finishing at Nebraska, he played at the well known Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) in April playing 3 games averaging13.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.7apg, 2.3spg. Recently he played at the NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Orlando Blue): 2 games: 2.5ppg, 1.5rpg. "I spoke to coach Herbert about the program in Frankfurt. He said it was their goal to make players better and develop them further. He was overjoyed with everything happening in Frankfurt and I am looking forward to it. My task in college was to score and get to the basket. With Frankfurt I will do all that coach demands from me and what the team needs. I will give my best", stressed Shavon Shields.
Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been Danish U20 National Team -13, All-Big Ten Honorable Mention -14, Big Ten All-Sportsmanship Team -14, Capital One NCAA Division I Academic All-District 7 1st Team -15, Capital One NCAA Division I Academic All-America 1st Team -15, Danish National Team -15, CoSIDA NCAA Division I Academic All-District 7 1st Team -16, CoSIDA NCAA Division I Academic All-America 1st Team -16, All-Big Ten 2nd Team -16, and Big Ten All-Tournament Team -16.
Alex Foster(203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3... [read more]
Alex Foster (203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 79.8%. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to eurobasket before the exhibition game August 25th against the Fraport Skyliners at Wiesbaden Airbase with all proceeds goingto the Basketball Aid foundation.
Alex thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are playing your second season now with the RheinStars. When you look back at your rookie season and progression of your German, what was your most used German sentence? I always say 'eben so,' after someone wishes me 'ein schoenen Tag' at the grocery or bakery. A lot of my German teammates tease me for using that phrase, because I guess it's more formal than what they're used to. Or maybe it's because it's a Southern-German thing. My mom's family is Schwabisch.
Last season you were a rookie and new to a new culture and new club. Now in your second season what have been the biggest advantages that you have in comparison to last season around this time?
It's really nice coming back to the same surroundings in Cologne. I'm in the same apartment as last season and feel more like home than last season. The biggest advantage, however, are the relationships I'm coming back to. Especially with Coach Woltmann.
The club has been together for some weeks now. How has the preparation gone from your stand point? The club brought in four new players. How is the current team shaping up? Our preseason has been going really well. The club organized a new practice facility for us, in which we've been putting in the time and effort to take the club to the next level. The new guys have fit in seamlessly and we've spending lots of time together on and off the court.
In comparison to last season's team is this team as strong as last season's on paper? Stronger.
You played your first pre season game recently against Schwelm. How pleased were you with the team and on what areas does the new team still need to work on?
We still have lots of room for improvement, but it felt good to suit up together for the first time. There were some segments where we played really well, but going forward, I'd like to see us assert ourselves for the entire 40 minutes.
Last season Lakeem Jackson was a key point of the offense and this season the club got Hugh Robertson. What does he bring to the table that will help the team most? Hugh is a talented player and a natural leader. He's got all the skills to take over a game, but he also knows how to elevate the level of the team as a whole.
Amric Fields has come in to replace Aaron Jones. Fields had 16/7 stats last season in Slovenia. What has been your early impression of him and can he be a dominating Pro A player with consistency?
Amric is one of the most talented players I've played with. He's got athleticism to go with a smooth stroke, which makes him a nightmare matchup in practice and for the rest of the league for sure.
The club also brought in 202cm forward Robin Christen who has established himself in the Pro A with Essen and Hanau. How challenging has it been battling him in practice on a daily basis?
Robin can do it all. We definitely push each other in practice, but we have the most fun when we're put on the same team. We have a natural sense for finding scoring opportunities for each other.
216cm center German Dennis Heinzmann is a big German talent and project. How has his development been coming a long. Dennis is the guy on the team that everybody gravitates towards. He brings tremendous energy every day. You can't even compare where he's at now to the beginning of last season, when we matched up with him in Leverkusen. He's gotten so much better and I know will continue to develop into a dominant force in German basketball.
You and David Downs will lead the team this season. Do you feel any pressure that you have to step up your game a bit at the start to get the team and new players going?
I felt the pressure to get better all summer, which I did. Now back in Cologne, I feel confident enough to where I can worry less about my own game and focus on bringing the team together.
What has been your main focus in the preseason. What parts of your game are you working especially hard on? Defense. I always try to keep my matchup from scoring, along with helping my teammates within our defensive concept.
How confident are you that you will be able to raise your game even higher from last season? I improved my game this summer and have better players around me, so I'm very confident that I'll be able to play at a higher level. I feel that way about all my teammates too.
How excited are you about playing an exhibition game against the Fraport Skyliners on the Wiesbaden Army Airbase which is the headquarters of the United States Army Europe. Will this be one of the more unusual places that you have played a game before? I look forward to any chance to match up with a BBL opponent. Ultimately, that's the level our team wants to play at, so I'm excited to show that we can hang with those guys. I've also been hearing a lot of good thigs about the Army base and I hope we can show the service members our best. It's going to be a special game for sure.
The proceeds of this special game will go to the Basketball Aid which supports kids effected by cancer. The RheinStars jumped in for Northeastern who dropped out. How important is it for you to be a part of this important cause?
It's a personally important cause for me. My grandfather is currently battling cancer. I also lost a teammate to cancer in the 6th grade. I think what Basketball Aid is doing is great and I'm excited to be a part of it.
Your good friend from Emory Will Trawick will play for Rhondorf this season. Recently you showed him Cologne city. What has made this friendship so special? We've been through a lot together, so it's fitting that he's starting his professional playing career only 50 km away. I plan on watching him play as much as I can and I know we'll find time to hang out away from basketball too. He's a super smart dude so we can talk about anything and the conversation is always interesting.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?
That's a tough question that I don't think can really be answered, but I will say that Lebron has won me over again. After 'The Decision' I was pretty critical of his self-indulgence, but I respect him as a player and leader again.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose? I'd make it my favorite players from my childhood: T-Mac, Nash, Dirk, and B-Roy.
What was the last movie that you saw? Captain Fantastic. You gotta see it!
BK Astana (D1) agreed terms with 29-year old American point guard Robert Lowery (188-87, college: Dayton). He played last season at ALBA Berlin in German BBL league. Lowery managed to play in three leagues in two countries last year. In 12 BBL games he had 10.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.2apg and 1.3spg. He also played 3 games in Eurocup where he recorded 13.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.7apg and 2.0spg. The other team Lowery played shortly was Nea Kifisia in A1. In 6 games he averaged impressive 16.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.8apg [read more]
BK Astana (D1) agreed terms with 29-year old American point guard Robert Lowery (188-87, college: Dayton). He played last season at ALBA Berlin in German BBL league. Lowery managed to play in three leagues in two countries last year. In 12 BBL games he had 10.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.2apg and 1.3spg. He also played 3 games in Eurocup where he recorded 13.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.7apg and 2.0spg. The other team Lowery played shortly was Nea Kifisia in A1. In 6 games he averaged impressive 16.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.8apg and 1.3spg. He is quite experienced player. Lowery has played also professionally in Italy (Lighthouse Conad Trapani), Latvia (VEF Riga), Turkey (Balikesir), Greece (Koroivos) and Czech Republic (Levharti Chomutov). He attended University of Dayton until 2010 and it will be his seventh season as a professional player.
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