Basketball will most likely never match the interest level of football in Germany as old footage of the 2018 Eintracht Frankfurt cup win will show as the entire Romer place in downtown Frankfurt was covered in a sea of Eintracht Frankfurt colors and estimated 25,000 fans with about as much room left for an undernourished fly while in 2016 as the Fraport Skyliners celebrated their third club title Fiba Europe Cup, only 400 fans showed up while innocent bystanders were wondering who the tall dudes up on the balcony who were celebrating as hard like little kids who had been told school had been cancelled for a whole year. Who cares how many people show up, because a title is a title and for both clubs to come together one season and win a title together is dream material. When you have a club like FC Bayern Munich dominating football, then dreaming is always the norm for any other club. It might not have occurred to each Fraport Skyliner fan on the day of the do or die game against the big mighty FC Bayern Munich that there could have been the possibility that within 48 hours the cosmopolitan city Frankfurt could have two historic wins against Germany´s most famous sports team from Bavaria in basketball and football as on Saturday was the German cup final where Eintracht Frankfurt had surprisingly reached the final for the second consecutive year. But dreaming in this sense is a better choice than actual reality occurring because the odds of something like that happening was more likely than pigs flying over the Fraport arena and Lebron James joining them. Ok Lebron is the best player on the planet and can do the most amazing things, but in all respect to the king, let´s keep Michael Jordan doing the flying to the rim, because he was the first one to really make flying basketball acceptable. Granted it would not have been a title for the Fraport Skyliners had they been victorious in Munich in game five and been only the ticket to the BBL semi-final and a clash with the next annoying opponent Brose Bamberg, but anytime you beat FC Bayern Munich, it has to always feel like something extremely special almost like celebrating a holiday. All the Fraport Skyliners had to have done was win game five, because Eintracht Frankfurt did the seemingly impossible in Berlin beating FC Bayern Munich 3-1, so at least Frankfurt will be celebrating for weeks after that. The Fraport Skyliners came a lot farther than most expected forcing FC Bayern Munich to five games and pulling off two wins in a row something they had never done before against them. It was another interesting season for the Fraport Skyliners with many highs and lows, but in the end their instant high against FC Bayern Munich was brutally brushed off by the Bavarian squad as they ended Frankfurt´s season with two swift blows in game four and game five. The fantastic and magical Fraport Skyliners fairytale playoff run was fun, but unrewarded.
Elijah Allen is a 28 year old 195cm swing man from Columbus, Ohio that completed his sixth professional season and first season with Kirchheim in the Pro A averaging 9,8ppg, 5,0rpg and 1,6apg. He will be suiting up next season with Pro A team Walter Tigers Tuebingen. In the 2016-2017 season he helped Gotha move up to the easyCredit BBL averaging 5,7ppg, 2,0rpg and shot 42,3% from outside. He is one of the few guys that has gone from the German Regionaliga to the BBL He played two seasons for Lich and in his last season there played 27 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.3%. He started his basketball career at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) in 2007 where he played until 2011 playing a total of 103 NCAA games and as a senior played 26 games: 14.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 44.8%, 3Pts: 23.1%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2012 and played his first two seasons for the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga) and in the 2013-2014 season played 26 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season for the Licher Basket Baeren he played 28 games: 10.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 72.2% He spoke to German Hopps after his season with Kirchheim.
Elijah, thanks for talking to German Hoops. After remembering how long your season went last season with Gotha how strange was it for you this year to have summer break on March 31st?
It hurt not making the playoffs. That was a big goal for me this season.
Last season you played in the playoffs and had 11 more games. I remember you saying you had something like 5 heart attacks in the Chemnitz series. The playoffs is what every professional player plays for. How disappointing is it that Kirchheim didn´t make it to the promised land this season?
It’s was a bit disappointing. We had a talented group of guys. Good enough to have made a good run in the playoffs against the better teams. We lost a few games to the lower ranked teams and that ended up hurting us in the end.
You split the season series against Phoenix Hagen, but the 96-71 loss in Hagen cost you the playoffs, because they had a better point difference that gave them the eighth spot. This obviously hurt, but how disappointing is it remembering that the loss to last placed team Orange Academy a week earlier cost you the playoffs?
Losing to Orange Academy two times really hurt us in the end. We then were not able to execute our game plan in Hagen. We had a lot of open looks on offense but unfortunately we didn’t make them. A tough way to miss the playoffs.
A week ago the Fc Bayern Munich basketball club had woken up not in high spirits, but unnerved and distraught most likely totally ruining for some players their traditional Bavarian Sunday breakfast of Weiss Wurst and soft scrumptious pretzels as they weren´t staring at a commanding 2-1 series lead against the ambitious and annoying Fraport Skyliners, but instead were reeling on the tight rope down two games to one with their season on the line. One of the biggest easyCRedit BBL playoff upsets was possible as the #8 seed Fraport Skyliners were close and on the verge of sending the #1 seed big mighty FC Bayern Munich packing and on their way into summer vacation. The 72 hours until game four must have been extremely brutal for everyone in the FC Bayern Munich organization as no one there had expected anything but an easy series win, but not having to experience such a pest like the Fraport Skyliners making their basketball lives very excruciating. The thoughts of the players for those 72 hours must have been wandering like crazy day and night. A Danilo Barthel might have thought was I not aggressive enough or was my beard not scary enough, A Jared Cunningham might have looked back to his NBA days and wondered what tips a Lebron James had given him when he experienced tough times that he could use now in this time of need in Germany or big tough German national player Maik Zirbes remembered what it took to win 5 titles in two seasons with Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd as everyone knew now there was no time for screwing around any longer on the court, but it was time for big business and bring some pride and clutch wins back to Germany´s most famous sports brand. A week later FC Bayern Munich is back in the Audi Dome not with disappointed and embarrassed faces saying farewell to their faithful fans and coming up with excuses why they stunk up the house against the Fraport Skyliners, but instead are the big mighty FC Bayern Munich again and on top of the world as they are in the easyCredit BBL semi-finals having to now battle reigning champion Brose Bamberg. The question now is can FC Bayern Munich use this high and momentum and play a better and less nerve wracking series against Brose Bamberg or will they panic and let the leagues big surprise team the last two months march into the BBL final? They have pure motivation to get Munich a title even more after the football department couldn´t overcome Eintracht Frankfurt in the cup final losing 3-1.
A sweep is a sweep, but for anyone who didn´t see a second of the series and only read the scores and neglected to gaze at the box scores might have thought that Brose Bamberg experienced a tasty cake walk with little interference against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, but that notion is deceiving because the series was a real battle and a lot closer than what the scores indicate. The Telekom Baskets Bonn can go into summer vacation with their heads held high because they have nothing to hide. The Telekom Baskets Bonn played well, had a little misfortune here and there and gave Brose Bamberg a real run for the money. In game one, Brose Bamberg won in Freak City 87-74. The Telekom Baskets Bonn did a great job securing the rebound duel for themselves and coughing up the ball only 7 times, but their three extra possessions didn´t help them further.
Never count out a John Patrick no matter what the circumstances are. The American experienced coach who has no difficulty having a sound conversation in German at anytime has shown it over and over in his career no matter where he has coached that he is capable of not only building a talented team, but also be able to mesh each player´s qualities together so they function properly on the court at a consistent rate. Not too mention not always having a sufficient budget to operate from, he consistently gets the most out of what he has to work with. The ex Stanford(NCAA) player displayed his coaching expertise bringing BG Goettingen to the BBL and reaching the playoffs at a consistent rate while topping his run off with the Eurochallnege title in 2010 and also discovering guys like John Little, Chris Oliver, Kyle Bailey and Taylor Rochestie and putting them on the basketball map. With s.Oliver Wurzburg he led the team into the playoffs and upset Alba Berlin in the 2012 playoffs. He came and saved the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in 2013 being a fireman and since then has led the organization into the playoffs five consecutive times. So when the 2018 Basketball Champions League Final 4 were completed and nobody witnessed the big smile of Thomas Walkup on the winner´s podium, but instead a dejected team escaping Athens with a disappointing fourth place finish, many might of thought that the club would return home and have difficulty erasing the weekend blues from Greece. Ok so my 3-0 FC Bayern Munich prediction over the Fraport Skyliners made me eat my words and now I´m officially going to eat my words again after my medi Bayreuth-MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg prediction of 3-2. I have to be honest, I always believed that John Patrick and co would beat the Bavarian squad 3-0, because I have always believed and respected Patrick´s work but wanted to be right had a medi Bayreuth upset occurred. Shame on me! How could that ever have happened. John Patrick is a coaching master and once again showed how quickly he could transform a dejected squad to a focused team. With the amazing 3-0 sweep of medi Bayreuth, Patrick was able to reach the semi-finals for only the second time in his career. The question now is can he keep the team momentum going and upset the mighty Alba Berlin that has a core of snipers that could possibly outgun the Golden State Warriors with them having a semi cold night. Never count out a John Patrick no matter what the circumstances are, because if you do then you will get bit in the butt quicker than a David Mccray reflex can lead to a steal and transition bucket.
The road to the easyCredit BBL semi-finals wasn´t as easy for Alba Berlin and in no means a cake walk as they had to tough out an exciting 5 game series against the Ewe Baskets Oldenburg where each team won their home games. Alba Berlin went into the series with the EWE Baskets as the heavy favorite not only with their incredible regular season, but also because how the underdog had presented itself in the last weeks. But as one had seen last season, when you have a Rickey Paulding you always have a chance a she showed last season against Bayreuth and Ulm. The 2009 BBL champion didn´t hide their faces in the sand, but really came to play. In the first two games, Alba Berlin were far away from being a fourth best defensive team in the league as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg averaged 96 points per game 20 more than what Alba Berlin allowed all season. It was no secret that both teams can put up points quickly and both did. However Alba Berlin was able to make good adjustments after every loss and let up less points each home game while never really losing consistency on offense as they averaged 92 points in the high scoring series.
Seger Bonifant is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Berlin, Ohio that just completed his second professional season and first with Team Ehingen Urspring (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games averaging 12,6ppg, 2,0rpg and 2,5apg while shooting an astounding 48,7% from outside. Last season as a rookie he played for Cocinas.com CB Clavijo Logrono (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 32 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 82.9%. He played at W.Liberty St. (NCAA2) form 2012-2016 playing a 126 games and improved his scoring, rebounding and assists average each season. There he established himself as a real sniper as he shot over 50% from outside for a season three times and as a senior played W.Liberty St. (NCAA2) playing 35 games averaging 25.5ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 49.6%, FT: 83.5%. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of his season with Ehingen.
Seger, thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how did you spend your last days in your second professional season in Europe?
Right now I am at home in Berlin, Ohio. I will spend the summer here, working out everyday and getting better at my game. My last days In Ehingen I just relaxed and spent the days with my roommate Davonte.
Did you catch some sights in Europe after the season or did you return right away to home to Ohio? If yes what was the first thing you did before seeing family or friends? I can imagine you sought out one of your favorite local eateries?
I went right home after the season. My flight was scheduled 2 days after the last game so I didn’t have time to travel. My first stop at home was my favorite place to eat, chipotle. I really missed it and love it!
You had a solid season in terms of what you accomplished on the stat sheet, but your team Ehingen was unable to remain in the Pro A. With what kinds of feelings and thoughts do you have about your second professional season?
Obviously it was very tough losing as many games as we did. My whole life I have been on very high profile teams that win a lot of games. So being on the opposite side of that was tough, but a great learning experience. Also, our team never gave up and never felt sorry for ourselves and worked hard everyday. Besides losing, the season was a good one.
Many people that don´t know Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert will call it a miracle while people that know him better in terms of basketball mastery won´t be at all surprised what he has been able to get out of his team in the last week. 11 days ago after the disappointing 85-72 loss which for many wasn´t untypical, the Fraport Skyliners and Philipp Scrubb had a long bus ride home and had a lot of soul searching to do already noticing in that game that they had the game to compete with Germany´s most famous team. A week later the ever so reserved Mr Canada Philip Scrubb had another long bus ride home, but this time he could probably sneak in the one or other smile after hearing a Robertson and Morrison joke, because the Fraport Skyliners were up in the best of five series 2-1. Who would have thought that at the start of the series? Many thought after the game two win in Frankfurt that they would see one last home game at home and then summer vacation would begin. Instead with the help of a furious 29 point third quarter that rescued the 2004 BBL champion from 18 down, they showed extended heart and won in Munich 86-83 with the help of a gigantic Scrubb trey with 18 seconds to go and overall 13 three´s that the club dropped as a shocked FC Bayern Munch were wondering when this nightmare would end? FC Bayern Munich CEO Marko Pesic had another annoying reminder just how dangerous a Philip Scrubb is in crunch-time moments. The Fraport Skyliners returned home with an ace up their sleeve having the momentum and ready for the knock out as FC Bayern Munich now had their backs to the wall and suddenly had to play their best basketball to survive and did crushing the Fraport Skyliners 85-50 forcing a game 5 on Thursday night in Munich.
Devonte Brown is a 24 year old 188cm guard from Killeen, Texas that completed his second professional season and first with the Uni Baskets Paderborn averaging 14,2ppg,5.5rpg and 2,6apg. Last season as a rookie he played with OKK Sloboda Tuzla (Bosnia-Division I) playing 28 games averaging 8.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.0apg, Steals-3(1.9spg), FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 64.5%. He started his basketball career in 2012 with Indiana St. (NCAA playing a total of 129 NCAA games. As a senior he played 32 games averaging 15.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 42.0%, 3PT: 23.2%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to German Hoops after finishing his season in Germany with Paderborn.
Devonte thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your very early summer going at the moment?
I’m currently in Houston with the family , working on my early morning conditioning while spending time with some of my extended family members.
Did you get to visit any European sites after the season ended or did you go right home to Texas?
After the season I was fortunate enough to have the chance to visit a couple cities that wasn’t close to any opposite cities. Before leaving to go back to the US I had a chance to see Berlin and Amsterdam, two cities I’ve only seen in movies.
What was the first thing you did when you got back to the states? Was checking out one of your favorites eateries high on your list?
The first thing I did was join some of family and friends on vacation and enjoy a good amount of sun in Florida .