A Gordon Herbert has the gift of making the best out of the talent that he has and forming successful teams as he did with the Opel Skyliners in 2004 and Deutsche Bank Skyliners in 2010. Bamberg scout Brendan Rooney has the talent of finding exactly the right players for the Brose baskets Bamberg as he proved with Kyle Hines and Marcus Slaughter giving the needed push to help the five time champion win four additional titles in 2011 and 2012 or John Patrick finding no name NCAA players and shaping them into even better players helping them advance to better European teams as was witnessed with guys like Taylor Rochestie, Chris Oliver or Dwayne Anderson in the last years. He also was responsible for discovering the talent of a Jason Boone who flew from the Regionaliga to the Beko BBL in one swift motion in 2008. Artland Dragon head coach Stefan Koch has been known as being a top coach in the Beko BBL winning the cup with the Opel Skyliners in 2000, leading a lesser talented Giessen 46er team in 2005 to the semi finals getting American Chuck Eidson rolling on the way to becoming a Euroleague player and helping the Artland Dragons go to the playoffs the last two years. He is also heralded as a strategical mastermind on the court. In the last years he has also displayed a knack for bringing in the right young point guard who promt became one of the top offensive players that season. With Tyrese Rice and David Holston, his hunch was right. Can three be a charm with Demond Mallet (186-G-78, agency: Higher Vision Sports, college: McNeese St.). With Mallet, Koch didnt attempt any risk by bringing in an unknown, young and inexperienced point guard, but a well known European basketball player who won titles with Rhein Energy Cologne, winning the 2008 ULEB Cup with NBA player Rickey Rubio and playing for a team like Macabbi Tel Aviv. Koch didnt gamble with Mallet, but just relied on common sense, the right feeling and knowing what Mallet can do in the past. The question is can mallet bring a second title to Quackenbruck after their last title cup win in 2008 in Hamburg? One can only wonder where Stefan Koch gets this special feeling for finding that special point guard? Each coach has their own way of finding the right talent. Koch just has a good eye for quality. He just knows which players will make his team successful. I also think bringing in Kristaps Valters was the right choice. I like Valters. He plays bold and is always dangerous. You can never leave him out of your eyes, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss.
After winning their first BEKO BBL title with the cup in 2008 against EnBW Luwdigsburg in Hamburg in 2008, it seemed like the Artland Dragons were on a positive way with possible future hardware, but instead the club might secretly have been dreaming of the glory day in Hamburg where Darius Hall was in the middle of a swarm of Artland fans celebrating the win, because ever since that big title, the team has been looking for another success and missed the playoffs two seasons in a row. The Artland Dragons have been about as unlucky not reaching the playoffs the two seasons as a Formula one driver is racing the race of their life and then dropping out because the engine dies in the last lap as German Sebastian Vettel recently had to accept or poor cute lovable polar bear Knut who is being shunned by three female bears including his mother who cant remember he is her kid. In 2009, they had to win the last game and did crushing Frankfurt 90-69, but not reaching the playoffs because Paderborn won on the last day against BG Goettingen and in 2010, they made a last comeback winning the last four games, but losing their last game 82-80 to the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven a game they had to win missing the playoffs again. "I think that in 2010, Artland was lacking a guard who could control the team until the end. Ross was more of a scoring guard and Price could of done job, but he came to late in season to turn it around. The chemistry was lacking too and it seemed like players had their own agenda", stressed Quentin Pryor.
In 2010-2011,The Artland Dragons finally reached the Beko BBL playoffs again after a two year drought where they should of made it finishing the season with a record of 23-11 and landing in fourth place. They went the distance in the Beko BBL playoffs in the quarters beating a feisty Braunschweig team where the yhad to come from 2-1 down to win and in the semi finals gave a very hard fight against 4 time Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg bowing out 83-55 in game five. During the season, they had three three game winning streaks and one five game winning streak. They finished the season strong heading in to the Beko BBL playoffs winning eight of their last 10 games. They were unable to beat Bamberg in the regular season, but lost twice only by a combined score of 8 points. They were able to beat Alba Berlin once, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and BG Goettingen. One thing that The Artland Dragons improved on was not getting lost on defense. We didn't lose our defensive focus when we weren't scoring on the offensive end. Earlier in the year, when we would miss shots, our defensive intensity would go down. Later we are able to move on to the next play, without thinking about our past mistakes", stressed ex Artland Dragon guard Bryan Bailey. In that season their strength was their speed and ability to score at a high pace. If you allowed them to play this then they can score 80 points plus. A hidden strength is that they were a very confident team and feel and play as if they were the best team in the league", warned Kyle Hines. Another strength of the team was their depth, they were deep at each position and continued to get better. The weakness if there had to be one is just being consistent but they were doing that late in the season", said John Bynum.
Last season, the Artland Dragons reached the Beko BBL playoffs for a second straight season after missing them twice with successful ratiopharm Ulm head coach Thorsten Leibenath in 2009 and 2010. Last season the Artland Dragons finished in fourth place with a record of 24-10. They were led by David Holston who was only 167cm, but played with a huge heart and like he was a big 195cm guard not being intimidated by the bigger players. The club played pretty solid the whole season having two five games and four game winning streaks in the season. Their biggest wins of the season was against FC Bayern Munich at home 86-83 at home where David Holston had an eye to eye shooting clinic with Je kel Foster that was only out done by the famous Larry Bird-Dominique Wilkins shoot out in the 1988 NBA playoffs. The Artland Dragons also swept the season series with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. Koch once again formed a very competitive team around Holston with guys like David Fenn, Nathan Peavy, Brandon Thomas, Adam Hess and Bryan Bailey. In the palyoffs, the Artland Dragons squashed the title dreams of FC Bayern Munich winning in five games. Who could forget the spectacular win in Munich where they had no David Holston who had been suspended for a game. In the semi finals, they lost 3-0 to the Brose Baskets Bamberg who just rolled over the Quackenbruck team winning by more than 74 points. It seemed like the spanking of the holy mighty FC Bayern Munich had been their highlight and they just ran out of gas against the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the playoffs.
After two consecutive seasons in the Beko BBL playoffs the only goal for the Artland Dragons is a return, annoying the other top teams and possibly sneaking into the Beko BBL final. The two biggest loses for the team were David Holston and Nathan Peavy. It is still difficult to understand why they didnt try to hold Holston who went back to Turkey where he had started his professional team, but Koch possibly already had mallet in mind to bring that extra needed experience to the team. Peavy left to join 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin. He had played consistently in his time with the Dragons and will be dearly missed. The club also lost players like Bryan Bailey, Adam Hess, Darren fenn and Brandon Thomas. Despite so many going, the Artland Dragons have presented the league another very strong team this season. Joining Mallet in a top basketball ensemble will be Bryce Taylor possibly the second most important signing after Mallet, because of his offensive and defensive versatility, unending energy and never losing mentality. Andrew Drevo is back in the Beko BBL and will present mismatches at the position four with his stretching the defense. Koch also brought in Kristaps Valters for the injured Mallet who played two seasons with Don Beck in Oldenburg and has been a consistent performer in Europes strongest league ACB in Spain. He also brought in talented youngsters Marquez Haynes who played in the ACB who will bring athletic power to the guard position and Sergio Kerusch who is starting his second professional season after having played in Greece last season. Petar Popovic is a rugged big man that has oodles of experience and will bring physical stability to the boards. The team also brought in German Ben Spoeler. The team kept ex Skyliner Anthony King, versatile guard Johannes Strasser and Germans Guido Grunheid and Acja Njei. The biggest strength of the 2008 cup winner again will be their deep roster and unlimited offensive power. If the Artland Dragons can combine that with a willingness to defend then they will be able to beat any team on any night. The only thing that could stand in the way of the Artland Dragons is underachieving. They are so talented, but will need to bring it to the table every night. Koch is known for forming formidable chemistry in his teams and will do it again with this gang. Stefan Koch has done a good job again finding the right players. He always finds the right players. He knows how to find well functioning teams. Bryce Taylor was a very important pick up. The Artland Dragons will be a top team and play at the top, stressed basketball expert Steven Klauss.
The Frankfurt Skyliners have had unfond memories to playing the Artland Dragons as both having a 7-7 record since 2005 and during 2005-2007 Frankfurtlosing all four games including being outscored in the Artland arena 172-129. However, the tide turned for the better from 2007-2009 as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had a 3-1 record. Four years ago, they celebrated a very big emotional win 87-75 winning in overtime as captain Pascal Roller sparked Frankfurt to the win with 26 points. two seasons ago on the last day, Frankfurt lacked spirit and were beaten in every phase of the game losing 90-69. In 2009-2010, the team lost a thriller 77-76 in Artland as Frankfurt staged one of their famous comebacks despite a late Pascal Roller three pointer, it wasnt enough as they lost. Frankfurt was able to win at home 77-65 as Pascal Roller scored 20 points. Frankfurt won their first show down in 2010-2011 on the road winning 82-56 coming out of half time with a 24-8 run to easily win. Frankfurt was led by AJ Moye with 18 points and six rebounds and fans will remember a crashing dunk by ex NBA player Roger Powell. Frankfurt also won their home encounter 83-72 as Dashaun Wood had a Derrick Rose type of game making 29 points, 9 assists, five rebounds and four steals. The team lost a meaningless cup game in Bamberg against Artland where both teams played for third place and Frankfurt was without Dashaun Wood. Last season, both teams played a defensive classic in Frankfurt as Artland won 49-44. Frankfurt returned to Artland winning 66-60 as Jimmy Mckinney led the scoring with 15 points and ex NBA player Jermario Davidson had 13 points, six rebounds and six blocks.
In the second game of the season, both teams will have a lot to prove as both teams stunk up the house on the road. The Artland Dragons were routed in Berlin 94-62 as they shot only 21% from outside and had a whopping 21 turnovers. The Artland Dragons will be returning home and are always very difficult to beat there. They didnt show very much offensive power in Berlin and werent on the same defensive page as Stefan Koch. The Fraport Skyliners lost 74-56 and never found their offensive rhythm being stifled by the Ludwigsburg aggressive defense and also not showing their routine defense that they are accustomed to. We are all mad about this performance in Ludiwgsburg. We will go back to practice and see what we did wrong. We have to get Peacock integrated. We will have to play a way better game on offense and defense and let our defense spark our offense, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein. That will be a tough game in Artland. Frankfurt will have to play top defense and beat Artland with their quickness, warned Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg guard Wayne Bernard.
The Artland Dragons are led by Demond Mallet. Mallet is a 34 year old 186cm guard from Louisiana that has the distinction of being a cous