With the second half of the Beko BBL in full swing, clubs are as motivated to reach the playoffs or to escape the unwanted cellar of the standings as the Harbaugh brothers were as earning bragging rights at the next Thanksgiving feast in front of family and friends, San Antonio Spur Tony Parker making it known in his lawsuit against a New York club that singer Chris Brown is a violent thug in reference to a bar brawl last year in New York city where the French man had part of his cornea injured by a flying piece of glass during a brawl between Browns posse and that off Drakes group or Takeru Kobayashi having the ability to enhale a whole pizza in one minute at a Super Bowl party. Recently teams have been adding players to help bolster their roster for the stretch run. The Artland Dragons havent had much luck with position four players this season with guys like Dennis Horner, Andrew Drevo and Ryan Gomes coming and going, but now seem to have landed the perfect fix with golf fanatic Brad Buckman who has been integrated quickly and seems to have a blind understanding with baby Shaq Anthony King. The Fraport Skyliners are trying to get out of the damp swamp at the bottom of the standings and have added Americans Ryan Brooks and Laquan Prowell who added an extra spice to the offense with scoring support, three point excellence and defense spark. Our offense hasnt been this good in a while; stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein. The Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg have added two Americans with Eric Coleman and Lawrence Westbrook who prompt help beat BBC Bayreuth in their first game with their combined scoring in the last minute. The team seems to be going in an upward spiral with John Patrick at the helm with a two game winning streak. Another team that is hoping to jump from the bottom are the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig who have a talented roster on paper, but are currently in 17th place. The club recently stocked up with Lubos Barton (202-SF-80, college: Valparaiso) who is a 32 year old 202cm forward form the Czech Republic that is a great athlete. Excellent shooter from various range, but can easily run in the traffic. Good ball handling skills and is very useful on defensive end, where he can get many rebounds. He played at Valparaiso (NCAA) where Chris Ensminger also played from 1998-2002. He turned professional in 2002 and has played in the top leagues since in the Italian Serie A and the last seven years in the ACB where he played two seasons for FC Barcelona. The question is how quickly he can get integrated and help Braunschweig? Barton is a great player. I saw him play with the Czech Republic national team. I like his game. He is a stretch four that knows where the basket is. He is hardworking and fits well to the team as there is no alternative to Harding Nana. If he plays the three, he will create massive match up problems as he can move well. He reminds me a bit of a Jacob Burtschi. He will help Braunschweig. There is a reason he played for FC Barcelona, because of his skills, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss.
Last season, The New Yorker Braunschweig finished the season in seventh place with a record of 18-16. Their biggest wins were a road win in Oldenburg where it is never easy to exit with a victory and big wins at home against the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. They also suffered a bitter 72-71 loss at home against the Artland Dragons, a 70-69 win in Ludwigsburg and a total collapse in Tuebingen losing by 31 points.. Braunschweig is a team that could beat any team in the Beko BBL on a good day last season. They had a very balanced team. They had a top center with Kyle Visser who has nice moves, two strong shooters with Nils Mittmann and Robert Kulawick, an allrounder with Mcelroy, a super point guard with Stephen Dennis who is quick and takes care of the ball and Rich Melzer who is a very aggressive rebounder, stressed Ruben Spoden. After losing Nick Williams, the club did have a weakness. They dont have a real back up point guard. Dennis Schroeder is a big talent and I am happy that he can play so much, but he is still developing. The team hasnt found their rhythm yet, but they will be a totally different team in the second half of the season, stressed Ruben Spoden. I think their strength was their guards. I think if their guards played well, then they were tough to beat. I think their weakness was depth down low. If Visser Or Melzer get in foul trouble then you can attack them down low on a more consistent basis, warned John Bynum. The team has massive injury woes as Rich Melzer, Stephen Dennis and Lamarr Greer are all out with injuries. In the Beko BBL playoffs, The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig didnt have a real chance against ratiopharm Ulm as they were swept 3-0. The Phantoms defense never got on track as they had no cure for the ratiopharm Ulm firepower as they gave up an average of 94 points in the three games.
This season, the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig signalized a new formel 7-6 and also practiced a team facelift as seven players departed and six new players came aboard. The first order of business was finding a new head coach with Kostas Flevarakis where maanger Oliver Braun didnt waste much time getting him in the early summer. Flevarakis is agreek coach who has much experience having coached much in Greece and had also in Cyprus and led the Swedish national team as well. The Greek coach might not have had early supporters when he stressed that he had heard of Braunschweig only because of their soccer team, but honestly the German city is better known through Eintracht Braunschweig than its basketball team. The Greek coach is a guy that practices the Greek basketball school on the court, stresses team play, defense and has already shown that young German talented players like a Dennis Schroeder will get his minutes. The club was able to hold likeable Immanuel Mcelroy who still belongs to the top defenders in the league despite not getting any younger. The club also held German indentity figures captain Nils Mittman who will be playing his eighth season in Braunschweig and sharp shooter Robert Kulawick. The tallest player in the Beko BBL Nick Schneiders also remains as his resemblance to Dirk Nowitzki continues to dazzle folks and Dennis Schroeder also is on board. The club brought in 6 new player with five americans and one German. The new point guard is Miah Davis who is a point guard that has always played a role wherever he has player. Who could forget his season with Bonn in 2007-2008, where he helped charge the team to the Beko BBL finals. The team also brought in Thaddeus Mcfadden who lit up the scoreboards in the Czech Republic the last season, but is still looking for his trigger release in the Beko BBL. The biggest surprise has been Casey Mitchell who is a young player playing only his second professional season that has surprised some with his early season scoring punch. For the rebound work, the team have hauled in Nana Harding from Cameroun and Eric Boateng from Great Britan. Harding is an experienced forward that had too very good statistical seasons in Poland and Greece from 2010-2012. Boateng is a young center that also hasnt reached his full potential yet and has the distinction of being the only current Beko BBl player that took part at the 2012 Olympics in London with England. With Erik Land, the team picked up a young German who also is looking for making his breakthrough in the Beko BBL. It will be interesting to see if he can get his minutes the way Schroeder will? The biggets strength of the team is their guard rotation of Davis, Mcfaadden, Schroeder, Mitchell and Mcelroy. The Phantoms have a lightening quick guard rotation that could present problems for teams that want to play the half court game. The team might not be the most talented, but it will be up to coach Flevarakis to build a special team chemistry and special flair within the team to possibly get some surprise wins this season. The team did bolster their inside game with the late arrival of Boateng, but still might need extra help in games where they have big man foul problems with every guy helping out under the boards. However in the last three months players have come and gone as they said farewell to Americans Casey Mitchell and Thaddeus Mcfadden and recently added Lubos Barton and Courtney Pigram.
The Fraport Skyliners have had very very fond memories of The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig as they have a 14-1 record since March 11th, 2006 as Braunschweig won 81-76 then. They also havent lost at home since 2002 having won the last nine games in a row.The two most memorable games were from the 2008-2009 season. Who could forget the 68-58 win in the cup game which brought Frankfurt to the TOP 4 in Hamburg. That game displayed the best performance by guard Adam Emmenecker who came out of his shell and proved he has no nervous shooting hand as he left captain Pascal Roller on the bench as he had the hot hand leading the team with 13 points. However in the regular season game in Braunschweig, Roller got his revenge as he led the team to a 55-53 win as his last minute clutch jumper paved the way to the win. In 2009-2010, Frankfurt swept the series winning 81-77 as Frankfurt came from behind to win as Aubrey Reese poured in 21 points and prevailed at home 71-62 as Derrick Allen steered 18 points to the triumph. In teh first game this season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners pulled out a thrilling 94-91 win at home. Frankfurt fought back in the fourth quarter as they came back from being behind 90-87 and close out the game on a 7-0 run as Skyliner captain Pascal Roller hit a huge three pointer and Dashaun Wood a shot. Frankfurt did a fantastic job distributing the ball as seven players scored in double figures led by Pascal Roller and Kimmo Muurinen with 13 points a piece. Frankfurt dominated the boards 38-24. Last season, the Skyliners were 2-1and stretched their winning streak to 12 games as they won two memorable games winning 94-91 at home as they finished the game with a 7-0 run capped by a big three pointer by Pascal Roller. Seven players scored in double figures and nobody scored more than 13 points. In the return date in Braunschweig, Frankfurt pulled out a nail bitter 68-67 as Frankfurt was down 67-65 and Frankfurt won the game on their last possession as Dashaun Wood scored on a penetration and got the free throw to fall. Kimmo Muurinen led Frankfurt with 20 points. The Fraport Skyliners won the first meeting of the season in Braunschweig winning 76-70 as Jermareo Davidson added 26 points and Michael Thompson 22 points. The Fraport Skyliners won the second meeting in an excirting 81-80 win in OT as Dennis Schroeder had almost won the game in the regular time with big buckets in the lane at the end. However the Fraport Skyliners kept their cool in their living room winning. Michael Thompson led the Skyliners with 16 points and Tim Ohlbrecht steered 15 points and 11 rebounds to the win. In the first meeting this season, the Fraport Skyliners won a nail bitter 61-59 as ex Skyliner Ted Scott sealed the win with free throws and German Nils Mittman missed a three pointer to win the game.
The Fraport Skyliners travel to Braunschweig with a must win situation. With a loss, they will have two wins less than the Phantom and will slide deeper into the Beko BBL cellar. The Phantoms Braunschweig are coming off a big home win against TBB Trier where American Miah Davis won the game in the last seconds. The Fraport Skyliners are riding on a four game losing streak and didnt play bad in Bayreuth, but couldnt get a handle on securing offensive rebounds and were flooded by the opponent with big shots. Quantez Robertson has been the best Skyliner in the last weeks and after the loss in Bayreuth one could sense a little helplessness, but he is still focused about getting a win in Braunschweig. We have to be even more aggressive eon offense and defense and let the game come to us and just have fun playing basketball, stressed Quantez Robertson. Skyliner captain Marius Nolte knows that the hour of truth has more than arrived. We desperately need a success experience. We will work very hard in preparation for the game!, warned Marius Nolte.
The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig are led by 32 year old 193cm guard Immanuel Mcelroy who is playing his second season with the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig after successful years in Cologne and Berlin. He played at Cincinnati (NCAA) and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2001. He already made a name for himself winning titles with Rhein Energy Cologne His overall quickness, combined with his mental toughness, makes him well-suited as a defender in the attacking defense. He is very athletic, a 40-inch vertical jump and a bench press approaching 300 pounds, ability to break defenders down with his dribble and his explosiveness to the basket makes him an effective scorer. He also possesses good court vision and excellent ball-handling skills, giving him the ability to distribute the ball, particularly in the transition game. He is a natural leader who makes others around him better players. He also has very much experience having won three BBL cups and two BBL league titles. If you want to slow down Mcelroy, you have to deny him the ball and give him the jump shot until he starts to make some, warned Omari Westley. Mcelroy who has never been known as a good shooter has really improved his shooting the last few years. Mcelroy may not score 20 points every night, but he belongs to the top players in the BEKO BBL, because he can really do it all on the court and is also one of the top defenders in the league. The American played at Cologne from 2004-2008 before moving to Alba Berlin in early 2008 as the team had financial difficulties. With Cologne, he was Beko BBL champion in 2006 and won the beko BBL cup in 2005 and 2007. With Alba Berlin, he won the German championship in 2008 and cup in 2009. He is a four time beko BBL Allstar and has played 96 international club games. Last season for Braunschweig, he played 34 games: 8.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 74.2%. Miah Davis is a 31 year old 183cm point guard from Bremerton, Washington. He is a very quick guard. He is a good shooter, and has improved his three point shot. He is a combination guard who can play both positions. He is really playing hard and getting ready to fight. Miah has always been ready to play and excited about playing. He started his basketball career at Modesto JC (NJCAA), then played at Cal.St.-Stanislaus (NCAA2) before finishing his NCAA career at Pacific playing 60 NCAA games. He turned professional in 2004 playing for Roanoke Dazzle (NBDL). He then played two seasons in Poland for Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-EBL) before coming to Bonn in 2007-2008. In the last years, he has gained further experience in Poland, Cyprus and Belgium. Last season, he played for Stella Artois Leuven Bears (Belgium-D1): 36 games: 5.1ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 70.3%. He won two super cups in Cyprus.
Nana Harding is a 31 year old 203cm power forward that is playing his first season in Germany for Braunschweig. He started his basketball career at Virginia Tech (NCAA) in 2001 and finished at Delaware in 2006. As a senior he played 30 games: ScoreCAA-2 (19.0ppg), RebCAA-1 (10.9rpg), 1.7apg, 1.2spg, BlocksCAA-5 (1.3bpg), FG: 46.9%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 64.1%: Finished career at Delaware ranked sixth in rebounds (784), eighth in scoring (1,345 points), eighth in blocks (92) and tied for first in double-doubles (40). Harding has had a consistent career in Europe having played four seasons in Poland and one in Spain and Greece. In five of six seasson where he was healthy, he was able to be a force in scoring and rebounds. Last season, he played for Ilysiakos Athens (Greece-A1, starting five): 22 games: 12.0ppg, Reb-3 (7.5rpg), 1.0spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 73.4%. He has been a member of the Cameroonian National Team in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and played at the African Championships in Libya -09 (Semifinals): 9 games: 9.6ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 73.7%.
Eric Boateng is a 26 year old 208cm center that has the British/Ghana citizenship. He started his basketball career at Duke where he reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2006. He then finished his NCAA career at Arizona State from 2006-2010. He played a total of 118 NCAA games. He started his professional basketball career in 2010 for Idaho Stampede (D-League): 17 games: 5.2ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 46.1%, FT: 52.9%, in Feb.''11 moved to Austin Toros (D-League): 22 games: 4.9ppg, 4.9rpg. Last season, he played for DASH Peristeri GS Athens (Greece-A1, starting five), left in Jan.''12 because of injury: 7 games: 8.4ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 65.7%, FT: 46.4%. He has been a fixture in the British national team the last three years playing the Qualifications to European Championships 2011 -10: 4 games: 1.0ppg, 1.3rpg, European Championships in Lithuania -11: 4 games: 1.5ppg, 2.0rpg, and Olympic Games in London (United Kingdon) -12: 3 games: 4.0ppg, 2.7rpg. 31 year old 201cm German Nils Mittman is a 33 year old 201cm power forward that is playing his eighth season in Braunschweig after having played there from 1998-2001. He is the ultimate team player that will do anything to win. He played two years in Ulm, two years in Wurzburg and three seasons in Ludwigsburg. In 2010-2011 the team captain played 39 games: 3.2ppg, 1.7rpg. He has reached the beko BBL cup final twice in 2008 with EnBW Ludwigsburg and last season with Braunschweig. Last season, the captain played 34 games: 4.6ppg, 2.7rpg. 27 year old 191cm guard Robert Kulawick is playing his second season in Braunschweig after having played the last three years in Goettingen. He started his basketball career at TUS Lichterfelde in 2003 and also played for Alba Berlin from 2004-2006 playing 14 BBL games, three ULEB Cup games and winning the BBL cup in 2006. After playing with The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in 2006-2007, he crossed the boarder into Holland and played for Den Helder Seals playing 34 games averaging 7.9ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 84.6%. Already in 2008-2009, one could see the confidence of John Patrick in the German letting him average 10 minutes per game, and in 2009-2010 season he increased his minutes to 17 minutes. In 2010-2011 for BG Goettingen, he played EuroCup: 14 games: 7.5ppg, 2.1rpg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 37.0%; German League: 36 games: 5.4ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 30.0%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 78.6%. He has been a member of the German U-18 and U-20 teams the last years and if he keeps developing the way he does, then German National coach Dirk Bauermann will have to invite him to the German National team some day. Last season for Braunschweig, the German palyed 30 games: 4.1ppg, 1.8rpg. 28 year old 221cm German giant Nick Schneiders that was born in Bielefeld and grew up in Rietberg is playing his second season in Braunschweig. He has experience having played in the States for S.Carol.Upstate (NCAA2) from 2005-2008 and then transferring to USC Upstate (NCAA) and playing there from 2008-2010. In his senior year, he played 29 games: 12.4ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.0bpg, FGP: 46.3%, FT: 57.6%. He is known as the tallest player in the Beko BBL and last season played 33 games: 3.4ppg, 2.9rpgSchroeder is an 19 year old 186cm point guard that is very talented and recently played at the European Championships U18 in Wroclaw (Poland) -11: 8 games: 13.5ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-3 (4.9apg), 2.0spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 63.6%. Last season, he played for the 27 games: 2.5ppg; played also at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 23 games: 19.0ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-1 (6.5apg), 2.3spg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 75.7%. The team also got Erik Land who is a 25 year old 205cm forward from Bamberg. He started his basketball career at TSV Troester II Breitengussbach (Regionalliga) in 2005 where he played until 2010. He then got experience playing for Bamberg and last season for the Saar-Pfalz Braves (ProA) playing 24 games: 6.8ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 26.2%, FT: 71.2%
Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL) inked 25-year old American guard Devon Baulkman (193-91kg-91). He just graduated from Tennessee (NCAA). In 34 games he averaged 9.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.8apg and 1.0spg last season. As mentioned above Baulkman is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. He received All-Panhandle Conference 1st Team award in 2014 at his college time. Ratiopharm Ulm roster for 2016-2017: Guards: Per Guenther Karsten Tadda Chris Babb Braydon Hobbs Taylor Brau... [read more]
Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL) inked 25-year old American guard Devon Baulkman (193-91kg-91). He just graduated from Tennessee (NCAA). In 34 games he averaged 9.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.8apg and 1.0spg last season. As mentioned above Baulkman is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. He received All-Panhandle Conference 1st Team award in 2014 at his college time.
Except for a short four month stay in Turekey, Kenny Frease (212-C-89, college: Xavier) has called Germany home for most of his four year professional career and will remain in Germany joining Science City Jena. Frease is a 26 year old 212cm 129 kilo center from Massilion,Ohio that has a big body in the paint who can score, grab rebounds and block the opponents' shots. A true center who can make his teammates better thanks to his great impact inside at both sides of the court. He has play... [read more]
Except for a short four month stay in Turekey, Kenny Frease (212-C-89, college: Xavier) has called Germany home for most of his four year professional career and will remain in Germany joining Science City Jena. Frease is a 26 year old 212cm 129 kilo center from Massilion,Ohio that has a big body in the paint who can score, grab rebounds and block the opponents' shots. A true center who can make his teammates better thanks to his great impact inside at both sides of the court. He has played in Germany for teams like the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, Artland Dragons and last season played for the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games: 9.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, Blocks-2 (1.4bpg), FGP: 51.8%, FT: 42.6%. "Kenny replaces Behanan, but is a totally different player than him. We need to be stronger and more dominant at this position. He has mass and quality and experience in Germany. He will be able to be integrtaed quickly into our game thanks to his passimng qualities", stressed head coach Bjoern Harmsen. Last season he scored in double figures 16 times including three double doubles. His best game was a 22 point 15 rebound effort against Phoenix Hagen.
Frease started his absketball career in 2008 with Xavier (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing atotal of 137 NCAA games. As a freshman he played 34 games: 5.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 46.0%, 3Pts: 28.6%, FT: 48.4%. In his second season he played 35 games: 5.1ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 0.0%, FT: 52.0%. As a junior h eplayed 32 games: 11.7ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.9%, FT: 70.2%. As a senior he played 36 games: 10.2ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.4%, FT: 56.9%. He started his professional basketball career in 2012 with Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-BBL): 34 games: 11.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.8%, FT: 56.3%. In the 2013-2014 season he moved to the Artland Dragons (Germany-BBL): Eurocup: 8 games: 9.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 54.0%, FT: 66.7%; German League: 40 games: 7.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 55.7%, FT: 49.4%. In the 2014-2015 season he started with Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-TB2L): 16 games: 13.8ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.1apg, 2.2bpg, 2FGP: 59.7%, 3FGP: 66.7%, FT: 44.4%, in Jan.'15 moved to Artland Dragons (Germany-BBL) playing 16 games: 8.6ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 63.5%, FT: 61.5%. "It feels great to return back to Germany. I am happy to write the next chapter in my career with Science City Jena. I was only once in Jena, but could feel the passion of the fans. I will do my best to find my rhythm and get integrated as quickly as possible. I can't wait until the season starts", expressed Kenny Frease. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champion -09, 11, Atlantic 10 Tournament Semifinals -09, 10, Atlantic 10 Regular Season Co-Champion -10, NCAA Sweet 16 -10, 12, All-Atlantic 10 Honorable Mention -11, Atlantic 10 Tournament Finalist -12, German Bundesliga Semifinals -14, and Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Defensive Team -16.
Around this time of year most BBL coaches are in their offices already scoping together new plays and contemplating which roles each player will perform except for Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert who is still looking for a few players to complete the new roster. Even tougher this season is that the Canadian isn't even at the practices as he has taken a leave of absence recovering from back surgery and given the coaching reigns to assistant coach Klaus Perwass. In the last year... [read more]
Around this time of year most BBL coaches are in their offices already scoping together new plays and contemplating which roles each player will perform except for Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert who is still looking for a few players to complete the new roster. Even tougher this season is that the Canadian isn't even at the practices as he has taken a leave of absence recovering from back surgery and given the coaching reigns to assistant coach Klaus Perwass. In the last years the Fraport Skyliners haven't been complete as their preseason schedule has started and it was no different this season as like last season the club faced German pro A team RheinStars Cologne in a neutral area Koblenz and this season in another unusual spot in Wiesbaden, Germany. Eight year BBL veteran and identity figure of the Fraport Skyliners Quantez Robertson has had his share of photo shoots and checking out runways with a basketball at Frankfurt international airport, but for a change he would also be stepping foot on another airbase in Wiesbaden only 26 kilometers away from Frankfurt international airport as the Fraport Skyliners met the RheinStars in an out of the ordinary place. As part of the Basketball Aid international tour, both teams were taking part in a very good cause to help kids stricken with the horrible disease cancer as all proceeds were going to this charity. The Basketball Aid international Tour had received a blow recently as previously invited touring team Northeastern (NCAA) cancelled their 10 day trip on account of the terrorism in Germany, but Basketball Aid organizer Hans Beth and his crew had done a fine job in a very short period of time finding replacement teams for the Huskies from Boston. It is typical that in the past American players tend to visit American airbases to get that extra special US feeling as well as cleaning out the food markets where they can buy and munch on Pop tarts, Oreo's or Twizzlers candy and much more, things they would never get in a normal German supermarket. In the past ex Skyliners and two thirds of the then Bermuda triangle Tyrone Ellis and Chris Williams minus Pascal Roller would venture out to Wiesbaden to take in the flair of American culture or a Jimmy Mckinney would make the trip to Heidelberg to visit the army heliport. On a very hot day that had temperatures in the 90's everyone was relieved to be in the gym at Clay Kaserne as it was air conditioned nicely and after 40 minutes of hard fought pre season basketball, it was no surprise that BBL club Fraport Skyliners had been victorious gliding by the Pro A RheinStars Cologne 77-59. Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth was pleased with how the first event of the tour went. 'It was a good atmosphere and a good game. It was a good start for the tour. The fans saw many young players competing and both general managers of the teams were present. It was obvious that the fans enjoyed the game. I hope to see them at Fraport Skyliner games', stressed Hans Beth.
For both teams, this exhibition game was just another test for the rigorous upcoming season that both clubs will experience in their respective leagues, but the game also had a deeper meaning as it was in support of the organization Basketball Aid that support children with cancer and the game also gave the American players time to reflect on this cause as well as playing a game on an American army base. 'Playing in Wiesbaden was like having a piece of home. I have a German mother and American father and to be able to see the Americana and German flags side by side reminds me of the partnership of both countries coming together as one. This was a very nice gym. Any enjoyment that I can provide while playing for military families is great. I can imagine that their life is stressful at times, but it is nice if they could enjoy a Thursday afternoon relaxing and watching basketball. Win or lose, we did a good thing today and we could leave with a good taste', stressed RheinStars forward Alex Foster. Fraport Skyliners center Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances) was as usual his laid back self after the win, but when asked about his thoughts about the game and deeper meaning behind the cause of Basketball aid, the Florida native became sentimental. 'This was almost like being on American soli. It was cool seeing so many American families in the stands. Being able to help the basketball aid cause is very important. Everybody was a winner today and it was a great day', stressed Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances).
Both teams were missing key ingredients to their teams as the Fraport Skyliners were without Mr Canada Philip Scrubb and new player Shavon Shields who had arrived that morning and was battling jet lag while the RheinStars were without the services of big men Amric Fields and 217cm monster Dennis Heinzmann as their inside game suffered without them. The Fraport Skyliners started with their heart and soul with Americans Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances) and Germans Max Merz, Stefan Ilzhoefer and Niklas Kiel. The RheinsTars started with David Downs, Robin Christen, Andreas Wenzl, Alex Foster and Hugh Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners dominated from the get go getting their offensive sets going while getting their staple defense established early as their aggressiveness was a few gears too much for the RheinStars as they trailed 15-3 after six minutes. Frankfurt got their inside out game going quickly as their big men Morrison and Kiel got easy buckets inside while their shooting didn't lack any fine tuning early on either as Max Merz and Stefan Ilzhoefer connected from downtown. The Frankfurt aggressive defense also led to easy transition baskets as well. At the 4.15 minute mark, huge German talent Isaac Bonga made his professional debut, but before he could make any waves on the court, Cologne got a quick mini 4-0 run with baskets from Lennart Steffen and Tim Van De Velde to cut the Frankfurt lead to 15-7. Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with a Robertson dunk and Garai Zeeb three pointer as the Fraport Skyliners led 22-9 after one quarter. Isaac Bonga was controlling the boards in the first few minutes when he was on the floor. 'Frankfurt hit us hard in the first quarter. We weren't prepared well and need to be mentally focused better. We were unable to meet their aggressiveness on defense with offensive intensity', stressed Alex Foster.
In the second quarter, both teams continued to sub their players in and out giving everyone their opportunity to work on their game as well as further team chemistry and harmony being developed. The Fraport Skyliners continued to have many more options on offense, worked on their inside out game and didn't allow the RheinStars much opportunity to get anything going inside. Frankfurt Got a three pointer form Max Merz and a hook shot from Mahir Agva while the RheinStars got trey's from Downs and Bendict Van Laack. Cologne then got their first solid bucket inside from Steffen who snuck inside finishing with his left hand as Frankfurt led only 27-17. Bonga was back in the game and the 16 year old who measures in at 205cm continued to help on the boards, but his athleticism and quickness was impressive as he showed it on both ends of the court making a quick block from behind on Hugh Robertson and then strolled into traffic and in midair made a no look pass to a streaking Morrison in the lane who finished with a routine lay in as Frankfurt led 31-17. Every once in a while Frankfurt would get careless and the RheinStars capitalized with buckets from a Downs who snuck inside, but overall Frankfurt always came back and had an answer on offense. After the Downs basket, Frankfurt went on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 41-22. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners got production from Ilzhoefer who had a totally new stroke of confidence and really had the green light in this game as he had that go to guy mentality brewing and connected on another trey, Merz scored inside, Tez Robertson made a steal and dunk on transition and Morrison finished inside for an easy two. In the last two minutes, Cologne got some needed offensive aid form Downs who dropped two trey's and Robertson scored inside, but the Fraport Skyliners led at the break 44-30. 'We were missing Fields and Heinzmann in the low post. It was the first game for Wenzl in 3 years. We have 100% belief that he can become the best center in the Pro A. He was a bit rusty today, but he will be a great player', added Alex Foster. After 20 minutes the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 41% from outside while the RheinStars were shooting 39% from the field and 36% from outside. Frankfurt had the 17-12 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Cologne had 10 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners started the third quarter with a few turnovers and the RheinStars capitalized on it getting a Robertson bucket and Wenzl lay up playing pick and roll with Downs to cut the Frankfurt lead to 45-34, but the RheinStars would never be able to cut the lead under 10 points. However it didn't take the Fraport Skyliners long to get out of their offensive mini rut as they went on a 9-3 run as the German kids executed nicely with Agva and Bonga to extend the Frankfurt lead to 54-36. Agva was working on becoming that Skyliner beast inside as he scored twice and Bonga connected on a three displaying a smooth stroke in progress. After 30 minutes the Fraport Skyliners led comfortably 54-38. 'We stepped up our defense in the third quarter, because we didn't want to fold. I think that the game was pretty even for three quarters. It was just that first quarter that hurt us. We had more open looks and came together better as a team. Hugh Robertson also hit some big shots', explained Alex Foster. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 32% from the three point line while the RheinStars were shooting 38% from the field and 24% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 29-20 rebound edge and both teams had 14 turnovers a piece.
Both teams found their scoring touch again better in the fourth quarter, but Cologne couldn't make any ground as they were still outscored by Frankfurt 23-21. The fans also got to see some Tez/Morrison show time as they connected on the alley-oop twice with Robertson being the perfect flicker while Morrison was as tame as a Florida kitten tapping home the ball twice and saving the hard throw downs for the regular season. Hugh Robertson who played last season with Helios Suns Domzale (Slovenia-Telemach League) and can decide a game by himself did his best hitting big shot after big shot cutting the lead down to 60-47, but the Frankfurt bench was too much for Cologne as they stepped up and executed as well. The difference was that in this phase, the RheinStars only had a Robertson who was hitting shots while Frankfurt went on a 7-0 run as Pro B player German Konstantin Schubert hit a 20 footer and a lay it and Quantez Robertson made a three pointer as Frankfurt led 67-50. The game was decided and in the last few minutes Alex Foster did some work for his stat line hitting a three and then making a beautiful off balance shot high off the glass. Frankfurt got last baskets from Agva and Ilzhoefer to secure the win. 'We were a bit tired in the fourth, but not physically. It was more mental. The two alley-opp's were mental break downs. Frankfurt played very physical. We have to emphasis to play harder defense in practice so we can be ready for teams like Frankfurt. Frankfurt played their defensive concept the whole game and we shied away from it. We couldn't stretch and challenge their defense. This game was part of the process to get ready for the season. I feel we made a good step in the right direction', stressed Alex Foster. '. 'The game went ok. We still need to correct many mistakes on defense. We found our rhythm on offense today. I feel that we have picked up on many things in two weeks. Coach Perwas has done a good job making things clear to each player what he has to do', added Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances). The Fraport Skyliners were led by Stefan Illzhoefer with 15 points. Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances) added 14 points while Max Merz had 10 points and eight assists and Quantez Robertson supplied 10 points, four rebounds and four steals. 16 year old Isaac Bonga played 23 minutes scoring six points, hauling down six rebounds, dishing out three assists and getting one steal The RheinStars were led by Hugh Robertson with 19 points while David Downs had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 52% from the field and 31% from outside while the RheinStars shot 43% from the field and 37% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 33-24 and had 18 turnovers while Cologne had 21 turnovers.
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