Since the arrival of ratiopharm Ulm in the Beko BBL in 2006, the club has always displayed interesting and somewhat potent rosters that were formed thanks to ex head coach Mike Taylor who is coaching Maine in the D-league and often had the appropriate feeling and trusted magic wan that was able to haul in capable players according to the minimum budget that the club possessed. In the Mike Taylor era, he was able to find young lesser known players just starting their basketball career like Dru Joyce, Romeo Travis, Christian Burns, Lee Humphrey, Per Guenther or John Bryant who all were able to produce in the Beko BBL. The influx of strong players coming to Ulm continued after the departure of Mike Taylor as head coach Thorsten Leibenath came on board. Last season, the club had a special player with Isaiah Swann that had special offensive qualities who was a big factor in the success of ratiopharm Ulm. Granted head coach Thorsten Leibenath and the rest of the team also contributed to the team taking the ride to the final, but how often was Swann able to bring that extra spark and needed production in key situations of games helping the team propel the team to needed victories. At least two to three wins were on the account of Swanns scoring rampage and scoring in bunches that he displayed frequently. Swann left ratiopharm Ulm after last season with money signs dancing in his head as he is making three times as much in Turkey this season. This season, the team got a player in Allan Ray (188-G-84, college: Villanova) who arrived to replace Swann and show that he can be that ray of light in needed situations this season. Ray is a 28 year old 188cm guard form the Bronx, New York that is a an explosive scoring guard, tremendous leaper, finds the open man, beats foes off the dribble or with a jumper, has range beyond the 3-point arc and is a conscientious defender. Ray played a season for the Boston Celtics playing 47 games: 6.2ppg, 1.5rpg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 76.4%. In the last years, he has concentrated on his basketball in Europe and has played for top teams in Italy and France and was always dangerous with his scoring abilities. It will be interesting to see this season, how important he will be in crucial situations and how much the club will rely on his scoring qualities in key situations to win ball games. He is still seeking his full scoring touch, but he did explode against the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven this season with 31 points. Ray teammate Dane Watts already had a positive feeling about the ex NBA player before the season commenced. I remember him playing at Villanova when I was in school. He was a great scorer and player for them. Im sure that he will fit in with our team and bring a lot of high level experience, added Dane Watts. Head coach Thorsten Leibenath can be thrilled if Ray doesnt only help the team win with his offense. I think my defense is a hidden strength in my game.. Coach gives me a lot of confidence. I usually have to defend the others teams best player. I bring intensity and much pressure and just try to wreck the other teams offense, warned Allan Ray.
In 2010-2011, ratiopharm Ulm finished a less than satisfying season at 14th place with a record of 12-22. They started off the season with a four game losing streak and right away were reeling to get out of the Beko BBL cellar. The team simply wasnt consistent and really missed having a comfortable 6-7 game winning streak. It also didnt help matters that they closed out the season losing 10 of their last 12 games. It was no secret that the team was capable of putting up many points putting up 80 or more points 19 times. Many of their box scores read like NBA scores, but Ulm often was simply outshot. They also had problems closing out games losing six times by five or less points. The club was simply unable to get their offense and defense on the same page last season. Differences to last years team are noticeable. I think they are solid in more positions this season and dont have any let ups when someone comes in the game. They are a deeper team and have more options. As far as style goes I just think they are more patient and get the most out of each possession. They are a better defensive team and they have a lot more structure as well, added John Bynum last season.
Ratiopharm Ulm moved out of the beloved tiny Kuhberg halle which was always like hell for opponents, because at times it felt like the fans were sitting in the laps of the players or were a secret sixth man on the court, simply because the fans are so close to the floor. On December 10th 2011 the team moved into the new 6,200 arena which seats double as much as the Kuhberg arena. As a result, the team budget was doubled to three million euros. With the departure of Taylor came a known face in the beko BBL with Thorsten Leibenath. The German had a lot to prove, because this will be his third team he is running in the Beko BBL and will be best remembered for missing the playoffs two consecutive times with The Artland Dragons that had two deep talented rosters and playoffs written all over, but instead missing the playoffs on the last day each time and sending Dragon fans to the cafes early to talk over their basketball misery over coffee. Leibenath started his head coaching career in reaching the British BBL final in 2007 after being assistant coach in Giessen for many years. He now started a new coaching gig in Ulm and has showed that he has matured as a coach keeping ratiopharm Ulm very consistent and behind the Brose Baskets Bamberg at times last season with Alba Berlin wondering if they are seated in a very unentertaining movie without salted popcorn. Ratiopharm Ulm did a massive summer cleaning keeping only Americans John Bryant, Rocky Trice and Tommy Mason Griffin and Germans Per Guether and Sebastian Betz. Guys like Robin Benzing, Coleman Collins, Lee Humphrey, Sean Sonderleiter and Travis Walton all departed.
The team brought in a healthy core of Americans with double double candidate Dane Watts, scorer Isiah Swann, Beko BBL veteran Steven Esterkamp that got another chance after sitting out a year and playing in the PRO A with Essen last season and Skyliner Jon Leuer teammate at Wisconsin Keaton Nankivil. On paper the club looked like a playoff team, but ratiopharm Ulm manager Thomas Stoll was careful not to get too excited at the start last season. The league is stronger this year. Of course the fans can dream of the playoffs, but we just want to finish better than 14th place last season, stressed Thomas Stoll. We want to win more games than we lose. Maybe we can be near the playoffs, added ratiopharm Ulm head coach Thorsten Leibenath at the start of the season. The Ulm fans were dreaming of the playoffs after the strong 3-1 start. The club started the season with an impressive win in Bayreuth possibly the loudest arena in the league, then came home and beat playoff candidate Artland Dragons, then lost by a slim margin of 64-59 showing that they already have understood how to play strong defense early in the season against the leagues best Bamberg and then beat the always tough defensive minded TBB Trier on the road getting a monster game from John Bryant with 27 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Instead of suffering a tail spin the team was strong all season having winning streaks of seven, six and five games. They are a solid team with some great players at each position. They will be a team in my opinion that will be in the playoffs if they continue to get better and work together as a team. I wouldnt call them a sleeper anymore but I am sure no one expected a lot from them this season. I do think they can make a push for the playoffs and I think they have great guard play and solid back ups at each position. They have guys who can shoot the ball and a great inside game with Bryant in the middle. As far as weaknesses the only thing I see would be what would happen if Bryant or Watts both got into foul trouble at the same time, warned John Bynum last season. The secret to the success has been a combination of coach Leibentah who found the right mix to follow his system and a group of non selfish players that play for each other and always want to win. Before the season, Leibenath was humble suggesting he wanted to win more games than he lost. However at the end of the season he proved all doubters wrong as the team finished in second place with a record of 27-7.They had an impressive playoff run routing the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig 3-0 scoring an average of 94 games in the three game series. Next they swept the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg 3-0 stopping their impressive season, but then ran out of gas against the Brose Baskets Bamberg finding out what it is like being swept 3-0. They had no real chance in the first two games, but lost a bitter 97-95 game three as Bamberg won their fifth league championship.
After such an impressive season, the question is can one top last season. The only step up is winning the league championship this season, but that is never easy considering the league gets more competitive each season. One can take the famous Bill Shankly phrase never change a winning team and apply it perfectly to ratiopharm Ulm as they did their best keeping important components like 2012 Beko BBL MVP John Bryant who can serve up a double double as well as Jared Jordan can an ally-op pass. The team also kept hard working Dane Watts who gives Bryant a lot of support on the boards, allrounder Steven Esterkamp, best German Per Guenther who has progressed as a player each season since 2008, role player Keaton Nankivil who can hurt you with his annoying three point shooting and oldest active Ulmer there since 2007 Sebastian Betz. The team lost scoring ace Isaiah Swann and Rocky Trice, but got more than sufficient compensation with ex NBA player Allan Ray, American guard Lance Jeter coming for the injured Tommy Mason-Griffin, German national player Philipp Schwethelm on loan from FC Bayern Munich who is starting to shine under Leibenath and bug German talent Daniel Theis who has already been inserted into the starting rotation despite little Beko BBL experience. The biggest strength of ratiopharm Ulm this season is the huge euphoric atmosphere that the team got last season that so far this season has held on as the team is near the top of the Beko BBL standings. Another strength is the deep roster and that many players were kept keeping some team chemistry form last season and the brand of players that they have where each plays for each other and where egos arent the most important thing despite stars like Brayant, Guenther and Ray. Important is also that the roster of players have many different qualities that help make this one of the more balanced teams in the Beko BBl with each player able of doing much on the court. Ratiopharm Ulm can only beat themselves this season. The question will be can they hold up against the pressure of continuing to win over a whole season. The double game function of Eurocup and injuries could take a toll on the team in the second half of the season and an injury to John Bryant could really hurt the club since his game fuels ratiopharm Ulm. The defense also could be a factor as the team is still finding a defensive identity as they have given up an average of 88 points in the first nine games. If they were only an average scoring team, then they would be near the cellar of the Beko BBL standings. But one thing is clear and Thorsten Leibenath can have more room to joke this season after the strong season last season. I dont think anyone will predict us as a team being in the cellar this season, said Thorsten Leibenath.Ulm has made another step forward. They found the right players once again this season. They can hit three pointers each second. Ulm is showing stability and when all players think the same then they are able to improve. They deserve to be at the top of the league now, stressed Fraport Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin.
Since ratiopharm Ulm entered the Beko BBL in 2006, the Frankfurt Skyliners have a 7-6 record against them. They won in overtime 87-83 in 2007 with Murat Didin. The Eric Chadfield buzzer beater will for some reason always be stuck in the minds of people, which had an eerie similarity to the buzzer beater of Justin Gray against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg this season. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have a positive 2-1 record in the Ballsporthalle. In 2009-2010, Frankfurt lost 74-69, but got a strong game form ex Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon who scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. In the first meeting last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners dominated the game and put on a scoring display led by 23 points by Seth Doliboa as the club prevailed 95-82.Frankfurt shot an astronomical 57% from the field and easily won the rebounding fight 34-25. Ratiopharm Ulm did a great job only having seven turnovers. In the return game in Frankfurt last season, Ratiopharm Ulm lost 84-77 as Skyliner American Seth Doliboa had another monster game pouring home 18 points and 15 rebounds. Last season, Frankfurt lost a 87-82 nail bitter in the Kuhberg arena, but returned home to win 74-67 as Dashaun Wood poured in 17 points and 12 assists. In the first meeting of last season, the Fraport Skyliners lost a winnable game 81-75 in the old Kuhberg Halle where Dane Watts made the two big buckets at the end showing NBA player Jon Leuer that guys from Missouri can play basketball. Ratiopharm Ulm had five guys in double figures, shot better and rebounded better. Frankfurt was led by Justin Gray with 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners got revenge in the return game in Frankfurt winning 77-64 in their strong second half of the season. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Michael Thompson with 16 points while Jacob Burtschi had 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners enter the game coming off a unsatisfying 91-65 loss in Berlin. The team shot allright over 40%, but were killed under the boards and had a poor 19 turnovers. Dion Dowell continued to be a spark plug as he had 18 points, but overall there was too little team production, but the team was weakened because American Zach Peacock was injured. Another bright spot was the spirited play by young German Konstantin Klein who had 10 points and showed his increasing self confidence on the floor. Ratipharm Ulm are playing superb basketball having a 7-1 record in the last eight games with a more than convincing 96-66 win at home against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Ratiopharm Ulm is defending better in the last five games giving up an average of 76 points up while in the first five games, they gave up an average of 84 points. The Fraport Skyliners will have to get back to defending well the way they did in Bamberg and against Braunschweig, because ratiopharm Ulm is a scoring machine averaging 89 points per game. It is not about quality that we focus on, but on individual readiness for the game. We have to focus more on ourselves than on Ulm. If we play 100% and lose than I can be satisfied, but not when we give 100%. It is not important who you play, but how you play, warned Muli Katzurin.
ratiopharm Ulm is led by John Bryant who is a 25 year old 208cm center that is playing his third season in Ulm and was born in Berkeley, California and grew up in San Pablo. He played at Santa Clara university coming in in 2005 as well known players Doron Perkins and Kyle Bailey had just graduated. He played 124 NCAA games getting WCC Player of the Year in 2009. In his last three years, he was able to average double figures in points. In his senior year, he tore up the NCAA playing 33 games: 18.1ppg, 14.2rpg, 1.1apg, 2.5bpg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 78.7%. In 2009 he was drafted by the Erie BayHawks (D-League,2rd (31) and played 48 games: 13.2ppg, 9.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 49.3%, FT: 77.6%. In the summer 2010, he played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (Milwaukee Bucks). He has a great feel for the game. This is his first season and who would of thought that he would play so well? He stays with his strength and takes high percentage shots. He has a very high basketball IQ with scoring and rebounding. I think that he could compete at any level in the world., stressed ex teammate Travis Walton. In 2010-2011 for Ulm he played 34 games: 14.6ppg, Reb-1 (10.9rpg), 1.1apg, Blocks-2 (1.5bpg), FGP: 60.4%, FT: 74.2%. Last season, he played 42 games: 14.1ppg, Reb-1 (9.4rpg), 1.3apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 71.7%. . Per Guenther is a 24 year old 185cm point guard that was born in Giessen and grew up in Hagen and is playing his fifth season with ratiopharm Ulm. He has very good speed and can dribble with both his hands he is very good in shooting from the arc and he has very good organizational skills, he watches the court with one glance and can assist his team-mates on a blind method pretending that he will shoot. He has an inborn charisma of a leader from a young age so he leads his team without having any problem. He played for BBV Hagen from 2003-2006 and with Phoenix Hagen from 2006-2008. In his last season in Hagen, he raised eyebrows with his play playing 29 games: 14.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.4apg, 2FGP: 55.8%, 3FGP: 35.7%, FT: 80.1%. He has improved his play each season as in 2009-2010 he played 34 games: 6.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 80.3%. Last season, he became into a real scoring option, but still keeping his playmaking qualities in front of him. He got into three games at the World Championships in Turkey in 2010. In 2010-2011 the German national player played 34 games: 12.4ppg, 1.2rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 84.2%. Last season, he played 41 games: 10.5ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 83.1%.
Allan Ray played at Villanova from 2002-2006 playing a total of 120 NCAA games. In his senior year, he played 32 games: 18.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 88.9%. He reached the final eight and sweet 16 for Villanova. In 2007, he came to Europe and played in Italy for teams like Lottomatica Virtus Roma, Carife Ferrara and Fabi Shoes Montegranaro until 2011. Last season he played for Krka Novo Mesto (Slovenia-Telemach League, starting five): Adriatic League: 1 game: 10pts, 1reb; EuroCup: 2 games: 18.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 4.0apg, 1.5spg, later that month moved to Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA, starting five): French League: 22 games: 15.2ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 89.6%; EuroChallenge: 3 games: 14.3ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.0apg. Keaton Nakivil is a 23 year old 203cm forward from Madison Wisconsin that is playing his second season with ratiopharm Ulm. At Wisconsin he played together with Skyliner Jon Leuer and played a total of 107 NCAA games. In his senior year, he played 34 games: 9.7ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 45.7%, FT: 83.8%. He reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2008 and 2011. Keaton "The Anvil" Nankivil is going to play a big role in Ulm's success this season. He is a rookie but has been picking up on the European game quickly. He is a team player with high basketball IQ and is automatic from 3pt land. He might drop an anvil on somebody's head in transition this year if they are not careful, stressed teammate Dane Watts. Last season, he played 42 games: 8.1ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 78.6%. Phillip Schwethelm is a 23 year old 201cm forward that is playing his first season in Ulm being loaned from FC Bayern Munich. He started his basketball career with Cologne in 2004, where he played until 2009. He played Euroleague at the age of 17. He helped Cologne win the Beko BBL title in 2006. He played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven from 2009-2011 and in 2010-2011played 36 games: 10.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 72.9%. He has been a member of the German national team since 2010. Last season he played EuroCup: 6 games: 1.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg; German League: 30 games: 3.2ppg, 2.2rpg. This past summer, he played Qualifications to European Championships 2013 - 7 games: 4.1ppg, 2.7rpg. Steve Esterkamp is a 31 year old 198cm forward from Cincinnati, Ohio that is playing his tenth season in Germany and second in Ulm. He is a great shooter and great competitor, has also a very solid mid-range shot, brings a lot of toughness to his team, is a solid rebounder from the wing position, is a excellent free throw shooter throughout his career, plays always extremely hard and to win, not afraid to take the big shots at the end of the game and always finds ways to get the job done. He is probably best remembered for playing with the Paderborn Baskets from 2004-2009 helping the team reach the beko BBL in 2006 winning 50 games in a row in the second Bundesliga. In Paderborn, he was part of the three Muskeeters with Marius Nolte and Tim Black. Esterkamp played a total of 159 games for Paderborn. In 2009, he helped force Alba Berlin to a 5 game playoff series that they eventually lost. He then went to Bremerhaven in 2009, but got hurt and never played a game there. In 2010-2011, he got his career back on track playing for ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen (Germany-ProA, starting five): 13 games: 16.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 73.2%. Last season for Ulm he played 42 games: 10.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 76.1%.
Dane Watts who is a 26 year old 203 cm who is playing his fourth season in Germany and who is a modern day forward doing the job inside and outside. He played at Creighton from 2004-2008 playing with NBA player Anthony Tolliver. In his senior year, he averaged 11,3ppg, 6,4rpg and 1,0apg. Last season, he quietly had a very solid BBL rookie season in Ludwigsburg averaging in 20 minutes averaging 8.9ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP-1 (68.4%), 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 68.7% in 32 games. It wouldnt be a surprise if most followers of German basketball didnt even know that he led the BBL in field goal percentage at 68%. in 2008-2009 as a rookie. He is a team player that still has a lot of potential and could become a scoring option in Tuebingen. Dane has a lot of potential and has all the qualities that a big player of today needs. He can shoot, is athletic, has good ball handling and defends well, joked Jay Thomas. In 2009-2010, Watts played 34 games: 10.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 71.0%. In 2010-2011 for Tuebingen he played 33 games: 13.7ppg, Reb-4 (7.6rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 54.5%; in May'11 moved to Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA): 3 games: 7.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. Last season, he played 38 games: 9.6ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 24.6%, FT: 58.1%. Lance Jeter is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania that is 32 games: 11.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 72.8% playing his first season in Germany and ratiopharm Ulm. He played at Nebraska (NCAA) and in his senior year played 32 games: 11.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 72.8%. Last season he turned professional and played for Lasaulec Aris Leeuwarden (Holland-Eredivisie): 32 games: Score-2 (16.8ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-5 (3.4apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 73.0%. 27 year old 200cm forward Sebastian Betz is hardworking wing who provides energy, defensive effort and consistent three point shooting. He started his professional basketball career in 2003 with Bamberg playing there until 2007. In five years, he was only able to play four games never being able to shake the Dirk Bauermann rotation. Mike Taylor scooped him up in 2007 and the German is playing his sixth season in Ulm. His best season so far has been 2008-2009 as he played 36 games: 5.2ppg, 1.5rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 54.9%. Last season the German played 42 games: 3.3ppg, 1.5rpg. The team also picked up German Daniel Theis that is a 20 year old 203cm power forward. He started his basketball career in 2009 for the Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB). He already played a game for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig in the 2010-2011 season as he had a double license. Last season he played : 21 games for the Phantoms: 3.4ppg, 1.9rpg; played also at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 25 games: 18.4ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-1 (2.2bpg), FGP: 61.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 72.4%. The team also has young Germans Marcel Heberlein and Till Joscha- Jonke.
PS Karlsruhe forward Jordan Talbert(198-F-91, college: Missouri So.) has had some huge games in Germany in the Pro B last season as well as this season, but so far in three tries against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors has come away on the short end of the stick in two different uniforms. Last season Talbert was wearing the Giants Nordlingen jersey well as he averaged 17.5ppg, Reb-1 (11.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-5 (1.5bpg), FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 73.4%. and he scored in double figu... [read more]
PS Karlsruhe forward Jordan Talbert (198-F-91, college: Missouri So.) has had some huge games in Germany in the Pro B last season as well as this season, but so far in three tries against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors has come away on the short end of the stick in two different uniforms. Last season Talbert was wearing the Giants Nordlingen jersey well as he averaged 17.5ppg, Reb-1 (11.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-5 (1.5bpg), FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 73.4%. and he scored in double figures 28 times and registerd 19 double doubles. However he lost a bitter 73-71 contest in Frankfurt steering 14 points and then got smacked around at home 78-56 as he produced 26 points and nine rebounds. This season in a new jersey, he was unable to take the season opener at home with PS Karlsruhe as they lost a nail bitter 61-56 as he was controlled well scoring only seven points on eight shots. He was looking to break his 0-3 negative streak as PS Karlsruhe entered the contest having lost a nasty 76-63 game to the Bayer Giants Leverkusen while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors rode into the game with enormous self-confidence having continued their masterful winning streak to two games having won a tough road game in Rhondorf 74-69 as the savior BBL license player Mahir Agva had been on board for a second consecutive game and was a big factor in the Frankfurt squad winning again. The game pitted two of the leagues best defensive teams as PS Karlsruhe came into the battle leading the league in points given up with 69, while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were the third best defensive team giving up only 73 points. Despite losing the first game at home, PS Karlsruhe did manage to keep Frankfurt at 61 points and wanted to supply another superb defensive performance and did stopping the Fraport Skyliners Juniors 77-72. After the victory, a pooped Jordan Talbert was just happy to finally get that Skyliner monkey off his back. 'It's always good to win on the road and I am happy I finally was able to beat Frankfurt after three loses. But I must be honest I would rather have beaten the guys that had beat me before as some didn't play, It was an ugly basketball game, but we struck together at the end. We defended well throughout the game and made up on the boards in the second half after they killed us on the boards in the first half', stressed ex Giant Nordlingen forward Jordan Talbert. His teammate Orlando Parker was also thrilled for his teammate Talbert that he won his first game against Frankfurt. 'It was redemption time for Talbert. I am happy he won. It was a big accomplishment for him', added ex Wagner (NCAA) forward Orlando Parker. After the loss Fraport Skyliner Junior teammates Garai Zeeb and Stefan Ilzhoefer had much to discuss following the game and it was apparent they were very displeased about the close loss. 'We had a good first half where we played with a lot of intensity and did a good job keeping their forwards in check and had good ball movement. In the second half they did a good job switching more on the ball screens and we didn't do a good job on the mismatches and couldn't find our offensive rhythm', added ex Ludwigsburg guard Stefan Ilzhoefer.
The first quarter showed the abilities of both team's defense as they punished each other with aggressive defense which turned to countless turnovers. PS Karlsruhe were blanked on their first five possessions as they coughed up four turnovers in a row and German point guard Dimitrij Kreis who played 132 games with Gotha and runs the offense must have had a frenzy going on in his mind, but the Fraport Skyliners couldn't really take much advantage as they only got a trey from ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb. PS Karlsruhe finally scored their first field goal in their sixth possession as Orlando, Florida native Orlando Parker snuck inside as Kreis found him back door for the easy bucket. PS Karlsruhe was doing a superb job limiting the touches and looks of Alaska native Travis Thompson, so the club needed another player to step up and did with Zeeb who drilled home his second three upping the Frankfurt lead to 6-2. Both teams continued to defend well and put up bricks every so often and Frankfurt was unable to get away as PS Karlsruhe stayed on the heels of Frankfurt and found some daylight going on a mini run and taking advantage of their athleticism inside as ex Cuxhaven forward Bill Borekambi made an offensive rebound and put back while Talbert scored inside for the PS Karlsruhe 7-6 advantage. Zeeb continued to be on fire making his third three, but the new Frankfurt lead was short lived as Kreis used his quickness scoring inside to deadlock the game at 9-9. Parker then connected on a 20 footer from the wing closing out the first quarter as PS Karlsruhe led 11-9. 'We came into the game not concentrated. I don't really know why. Perhaps it had to do with that that guys like Agva and Bonga weren't playing two guys we were prepared for. We need to be ready to play anyone be it a 16 year old or a BBL player. We started with many mistakes and the nervousness came as well and our self-confidence went away', stressed Dimitrij Kreis. 'We knew what they liked to do and had scouted them well. Zeeb kept us in the game, but we did miss too many open shots', stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Tim Oldenburg. PS Karlsruhe was shooting 45% from the field and 0% from outside and the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 17% from the field and 27% from outside. PS Karlsruhe had the 11-9 advantage on the boards, but seven turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
The game remained tight in the second quarter until PS Karlsruhe broke away somewhat, but that didn't hinder the Fraport Skyliners Juniors from battling back and rallying back into the game. Tim Oldenburg got Frankfurt on the board first in the second quarter with a pretty spin move as he showed how lethal he is without the ball as he got free from his defender and got the perfect feed from Zeeb to tie the game at 11-11. However PS Karlsruhe didn't let that burst of energy from Oldenburg get them away from their offense as they strolled out on a 6-2 run to lead 17-13. The club got valuable buckets from Croatian Dino Jakolis, Jordan Talbert and Bill Borekambi as they got active in the paint to give PS Karlsruhe the 17-13 lead. Frankfurt got a bucket from Stefan Illzhoefer to cut the PS Karlsruhe lead to 17-16, but Frankfurt had difficulty containing Parker and Kreis who scored in bunches surging the guests on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 26-18. Parker scored five unanswered points as he scored on a runner and then dropped a three pointer while Kreis stepped up and continued to create havoc inside as he scored twice in the paint as his quickness continued to stifle Frankfurt. Frankfurt was napping on transition defense one of the things that head coach Eric Detlev had stressed as one of the keys to stop in the game. Frankfurt battled back as Illzhoefer scored inside again and Travis Thompson finally nailed his first trey cutting the PS Karlsruhe lead to 29-27. Frankfurt got two key buckets from 17 year old NBBL player Niklas Pons, but PS Karlsruhe kept their nose ahead as Talbert scored and Kreis hit a step back jumper to lead 33-29 at the break. 'In the second quarter, we started to read the mismatches better, attack the rim better and find the open shooters. Parker gave us a push, but Frankfurt came back', added Dimitrij Kreis. 'We got beat too much on 1-1 defense something we practice a lot and it shouldn't happen. We continued to do a good job against their athletic forwards', stressed Tim Oldenburg. PS Karlsruhe was shooting 52% from the field and 20% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting31% from the field and 29% from the three point line. PS Karlsruhe had the 20-17 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
In the third quarter, it was the Jordan Talbert and Eric Curth show as the American scored 10 unanswered points in a row and ex Lich guard Curth connected on three three pointers. Ilzhoefer got Frankfurt on the board first with a basket to cut the PS Karlsruhe advantage to 33-31, but PS Karlsruhe then served the Fraport Skyliners Juniors part one of the Talbert and Curth show going on a 8-2 run to extend their lead to 41-33 as Curth hit two trey's and Talbert scored inside. However Frankfurt showed why basketball is always a game of runs as they stormed back on a furious 8-2 run to cut the PS Karlsruhe lead to 43-41. In the Frankfurt comeback, they got solid production from Thompson who nailed a trey and Ilzhoefer and 18 year old Konstantin Schubert scored inside. However PS Karlsruhe then closed out the third quarter with a devastating 15-3 run to lead 58-44. In the run, it was Jordan Talbert who rattled off 10 straight points as he hit five three throws, a lay in and tested his 33,3% three point percentage finding nothing but net. After a Ilzhoefer bucket, it was Jakolis and Curth who rounded out the third quarter scoring. 'I run the offense and try to get the player the ball who is hot. We never have a guy who will score 30, but all can score. It doesn't matter if it is a Talbert or Curth', added Dimitrij Kreis. 'We got into a hole and played with less intensity which gave them more motivation which led to their run', added Tim Oldenburg. PS Karlsruhe was shooting 53% from the field and 36% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 33% from the field and 30% from the parking lot. PS Karlsruhe had the 3-23 rebound lead, but 16 turnovers while Frankfurt had 13 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, PS Karlsruhe did a good job keeping a double digit lead and weren't overly in danger in the last minutes despite Travis Thompson getting hot and pulled out the win. Zeeb and Borekambi traded buckets to begin the fourth quarter, but PS Karlsruhe broke away going on a 7-2 run to get their biggest lead of the game at 67-48. In the run, PS Karlsruhe got support from Jakolis and Parker who scored twice. Frankfurt understood that time was running out and it was now or never and they found some burst of energy somewhere still hanging around in their tank smacking PS Karlsruhe with a 10-0 run to cut the guests lead 67-58. In the run, Frankfurt displayed solid inside out basketball as Thompson nailed two try's and young German Armin Trtovac scored twice inside including a pretty baby hook shot. PS Karlsruhe had too many weapons as it was back to Curth who scored five points extending their lead to 72-60. PS Karlsruhe simply had to big a lead with too little time remaining for any of Thompson's three trey's in the last two minutes to do any real damage as they survived a late Frankfurt scare in their comeback winning their 10th game of the season. 'I was a bit annoyed at the end that we weren't as concentrated in the last three minutes. We played with six and a half players while Frankfurt has a deep roster where every guy wants to play BBL. We were tired at the end. Thompson made some three's at the end, but we won and that is what counts. We will learn from our turnovers', warned Dimitrij Kreis. 'We had a little too little at the end. Thompson hit some three's, but it wasn't enough. It was a hard fought game and we had some misfortune in our game', added Tim Oldenburg.PS Karlsruhe was led by Jordan Talbert with 21 points and eight rebounds. Eric Curth added 15 points and Orlando Parker and Dimitrij Kreis produced 13 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Travis Thompson with 22 points. Stefam Ilzhoefer added 13 points and Garai Zeen supplied 12 points. PS Karlsruhe shot 51% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 40% from the field and 38% from outside. PS Karlsruhe won the rebounding duel 38-32, but had 22 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 18 times.
Brandon Lockhart (185-G-90, college: Drury) is a 26 year old 185cm guard from St Louis, Missouri that is playing his third professional season and first with German team ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) As a rookie he played for BK Levicki Patrioti (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 34 games: Score-5 (16.7ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-5 (4.3apg), Steals-1 (3.0spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 78.9%. He played at Drury (NCAA2) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 12.5ppg, 3.... [read more]
Brandon Lockhart (185-G-90, college: Drury) is a 26 year old 185cm guard from St Louis, Missouri that is playing his third professional season and first with German team ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) As a rookie he played for BK Levicki Patrioti (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 34 games: Score-5 (16.7ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-5 (4.3apg), Steals-1 (3.0spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 78.9%. He played at Drury (NCAA2) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 12.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 6.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 77.1%. Last season he played for the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-ProB) playing 29 game averaging 16.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 5.7apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 81.1%He spoke to eurobasket after the tight 95-92 victory against his ex team Nordlingen..
Brandon congrats on the 95-92 win against your ex team Nordlingen. Did this game have any meaning for you since most guys were gone from last season?
Danke Miles! It was a special game since I played for the Giants last season. Since most of the guys from last year are also playing for new teams, I was able to approach it like it was just another team in the league.
This game was tight all throughout. When you compare this year's team with last seasons team, do you feel like you and last seasons team would have won?
That is tough to say because last year in Nordlingen at this point we were just really starting to find our groove. So I don't know what would happen if the two teams matched up.
Elchlingen isn't far away from Nordlingen, but how is it different for you living there and enjoying life in your second season in Germany?
Since it's my second season in Germany, adjusting to life here was not difficult. Being in the same area pretty much also helped to make things easier. Life is good.
The game continued to be tight, but Nordlingen gained a 6 point lead half way through the fourth quarter, but the ScanPlus Baskets came back. You were the deciding factor at the end getting a bucket for the lead and sealing the win with free throws. Was it one of those games where you really picked your spots very well on offense?
I always just try and help my team in whatever way possible. Other players were playing well so it made it easier for me to pick my spots to attack because they were more focused on them.
The ScanPlus Baskets have many scoring options, but did you feel the need to have to take over in the last minute?
With the high number of scoring options we have, I don't think any of us ever feel the need to. In the next game that is close, someone else could be the one to close the game for us. It makes it tougher on the opponent when they have to try and key in on everyone on the court.
Do you feel at times more comfortable in crunch-time with the ScanPlus Baskets, because you have more options to run the offense than last season with Nordlingen?
I love close games! So my level of comfort here is the same as it was last season in Nordlingen.
You currently have a 4 game winning streak and sitting a top the Pro B south with PS Karlsruhe with a 9-2 record. Are you content with the start of the team?
Of course 11-0 would be better, but 9-2 is not a bad place to be with the second half of the season starting this weekend.
One of the two losses came at the hands of PS Karlsruhe 90-64. How excited are you for the rematch in the second half of the season and do you feel that you will be able to heighten your game as a team?
Hopefully the rematch will be a better played game for us. I believe we will be able to put forth a good effort when they visit Elchingen. They protected their home court and now we must do the same.
The team is ranked first in points at 90, but 22nd in defense letting up 96 on average. That is a risky way to live on the basketball court. Why can't the team defend better for 40 minutes? It is extremely risky to give up such a high number of points nightly. That puts a ton of pressure on ourselves to be great on offense nightly. I believe we can defend better, we just have too many mental breakdowns throughout the game.
How much of a pleasure has it been playing with American Taevaunn Prince who put up monster stats at Misouri SO where your ex teammate Jordan Talbert played. Is Prince still getting warmed up in the Pro B?
Playing with Prince has been good so far. He has the ability to get a bucket whenever your team needs one. So it's always nice to have someone like that on your team.
You're having a very solid season averaging seven assists a game. Are you happy with that with the many scoring options or do you feel like you could get it up to 8-9 assists per game?
It would be nice to get it closer to 10 with the number of scorers I have around me. Maybe that can happen in the second half of the season. But the most important thing is that we continue to grow as a team and win games.
Do you feel like you could get your TO rate below three this season. How much do you hate those hands in passing lanes when you create?
I believe I can. Averaging 3+ turnovers is too much and not acceptable.
The talk is usually about Lebron or Steph Curry, but one has to mention that Russell Westbrook is averaging triple double stats with points, rebounds and assists. Where do you rate him at the moment just with sheer stats and how he is doing it form the point guard position?
I believe Russ is a top 5 player in the world! The argument can be made for him being the top PG in the league also. He definitely has the numbers to back it up.
What do you feel will be the journey of the Golden State Warriors this season? Will they be able to win the title again and with 65 plus games?
I believe they have a greater chance at winning 65+ games than winning another title. Getting out of the west during the playoffs is no easy task.
Guard Leon Friederici (190-PG-95) has left Crailsheim to join Pro B side Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen. Friederici most recently played for the Merlins second team in the Regionalliga and spent the season before in 2.Regionalliga for Braunschweig's second team, but will now jump up to Pro B in a consistent role for the injury-ravaged Giants. New Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen coach Daniel Nelson hasn't had the start he wanted, but the short-handed Giants have remained extremely competitive... [read more]
Friederici most recently played for the Merlins second team in the Regionalliga and spent the season before in 2.Regionalliga for Braunschweig's second team, but will now jump up to Pro B in a consistent role for the injury-ravaged Giants.
New Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen coach Daniel Nelson hasn't had the start he wanted, but the short-handed Giants have remained extremely competitive in losing six games by an astounding five points or less. Four of the team's games have been decided by three or less points.
Friederici played seven games of Pro B basketball in 2014-15 for Braunschweig and also appeared in a BBL game for the Merlins last season. He had appeared in just one Pro A game for the Merlins this season.
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