BG Goettingen live By The Three Deflating The Fraport Skyliners 72-64

Seeing basketball legends in the Fraport arena isn´t something too rare as every now and then one will find it´s way into the arena like in the past having a Henrik Rodl who won the 1993 NCAA title with North Carolina and is coach of the current German national team and was in the arena again, but at the moment it seems like legends and future legends are on the influx as only a few weeks ago it was ex NBA coach Larry Brown who experienced a narrow Euro Cup loss to Frankfurt and in a few weeks fans will see Telekom Baskets Bonn high flying guard Rashad James who is a good bet to winning the 2019 easyCredit BBL slam Dunk contest as his dunks could propel him to early legendary BBL status and yesterday it was Michael Stockton who played once again in the Fraport arena as he has done in the past with Ludwigsburg and BG Goettingen. He isn´t a legend yet, but his name is as his dad was one of the best NBA point guards in the 90´s and gave up sacks full of dimes to the mail man Karl Malone. “My dad was recently here and saw me play in Goettingen and saw my brother David play in Bayreuth in a BCL game. He is back in the states now”, smiled Michael Stockton.  Putting legends aside there was a basketball game to be played as fans saw two hot teams with the Fraport Skyliners who entered the game with a two game winning streak having won an ugly contest in Vechta last weekend and a few days ago got by Euro Cup team Rytas Vilnius as the point guard duo of Jason Clark and Trae Bell-Haynes combined for 25 points in the win. BG Goettingen entered the game with a 2-1 record and two game winning streak having blown out MBC by 42 points and won a nail bitter over Wurzburg 91-87. After 40 minutes one came to the conclusion quickly that Frankfurt had been unable to let their big victory in Lithuania spark them in the BBL as they stunk up the house losing 72-64. Gordon Herbert wasn´t kidding after the bitter loss that this game had been one of worst he had ever been in and it was one of those games where you stop coaching. The stats said it all. The 2004 BBL champion shot 19/65 for 29%, had 14 more shot attempts than the opponent and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds which resulted in a measly 64 points only. Despite the terrible loss, the small kids will always love their basketball hero´s and after Canadian rookie Trae Bell-Haynes had writtenenough  autographs and posed for photos, he tried to dissect the mess on the court especially the unbelievable misfortune of not executing on second chances. “We didn´t guard the three point line well giving up 8 in the first half which is way too much. We had a good start and played well at the end of the third and most of the fourth, but they hit three three´s at the end which deflated us. It was very demoralizing getting so many offensive rebounds and open looks and hot having any go in. We worked hard, but missed so many shots. It was just one of those days where nothing went in”, stressed Fraport Skyliner rookie Trae Bell-Haynes. After the big win, Michael Stockton was beaming all over and talked history. “This was a huge win for the team and program. I don´t think that we have won here in a long time. I won only one other time with Ludwigsburg in OT a long time ago. Frankfurt is a very tough team to play that always play hard. When their streak ended with holding us to three points in the fourth quarter, we made big three´s and they didn´t. We had more luck”, stated BG Goettingen guard Michael Stockton.

 

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interview Michael Stockton after finishing with 12 points and 9 assists in the win in Frankfurt

4,120 fans came on a beautiful autumn afternoon to observe good basketball and saw the Fraport Skyliners jump out all over 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen 11-4. In the first two possessions, Frankfurt showed so problems capitalizing on offensive rebounds as they scored a three from ex Alba Berlin guard Akeem Vargas after Shawn Huff secured the rebound and Bell-Haynes scored in the paint after Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson had grabbed the rebound. Frankfurt did a good job getting to the free throw line as ex Berlin player Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann and Vargas hit free throws and Huff scored on transition. Frankfurt played very good defense holding BG Goettingen too to much isolation plays. BG Goettingen then went on a lightening 10-0 run as suddenly they got their three point game going as ex Oldenburg forward Dennis Kramer dropped a trey as did ex BC Partizan NiS Beograd forward Mihajlo Andric. BG Goettingen also got easy buckets inside from Stockton and ex Gonzaga(NCAA) guard Mathis Monninghof who sneaked inside back door getting the perfect pass from Kramer. Frankfurt did a good job keeping BG Goettingen top scorer Penvaris Williams under wraps, but suddenly couldn´t hit the ocean. Canadian Brady Heslip came from the bench and drilled home an open trey, but that was quickly answered by Monninghof with a trey and ex Oldenburg guard Dominic Lockhart also scored as the guests led 19-14 after 10 minutes. “Frankfurt started off very well, but then suddenly lost rhythm. As soon as Goettingen played more closer to the man they became problems. Not being able to score after the offensive rebounds hurt them mentally. They tried to regroup, but couldn´t”, stressed ex Lich guard Jermale Jones. BG Goettingen shot 53% from the field and 60% from outside and had 10 rebounds and four turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 24% from the field and 20% from outside and had 10 rebounds and two turnovers.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and BG Goettingen guard Pendarvis Williams

After both teams couldn´t hit the ocean in the first four minutes, BG Goettingen then settled down and took command of the game to lead by 10 points at the break. Frankfurt had done a fine job in the first quarter getting transition buckets and continued in the second as Huff scored to cut the BG Goettingen advantage to 19-16. Then bricks started to fall left and right until Williams and ex Chicago Bull Erik Murphy hit back to back trey´s putting the fans out of their misery. BG Goettingen then started to connect on their three´s as Haukohl, Williams and Andrich connected while Heslip was left open again and penalized the guests with a trey as you really can´t leave him alone, but BG Goettingen led 31-23. In that 9-3 run of BG Goettingen, fans saw a beautiful play by 208cm big man Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann who sprinted back on transition defense like a guard and made the spectacular steal. “These guys will do anything to win and they will go the extra mile and do the dirty work. He made a great play, ran then floor and made the nice steal”, added Jermale Jones. Williams hit another trey the third in the second quarter and he showed such calmness and such a good eye for the game. Ex  Wichita State (NCAA) forward Darius Carter made a nice offensive rebound and put back and did exactly that which Frankfurt couldn´t do all day long and he made it look so easy. After a Kramer lay in, Bell Haynes made a buzzer beater lay in as BG Goettingen led comfortably 38-28. “In the first minutes both teams were giving their all and being scrappy but just couldn´t score. Goettingen made many three´s mainly because Frankfurt help so much that there was always someone open and they took advantage of it”, stressed Jermale Jones. BG Goettingen shot 54% from the field and 62% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 25% from the field and 24% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and five turnovers.

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Post game interview with Trae Bell-Haynes who finished with 10 points, six boards and three assists

BG Goettingen continued to keep the comfortable lead in the third quarter while the Fraport Skyliners continued to be inconsistent on offense and defense disallowing them to get over the hump. Frankfurt did play better offense, but their defense execution was poor. Bell Haynes remained aggressive and used his biggest strength getting to the hole and scoring which he did twice to cut the BG Goettingen lead to 40-33. The Bell-Haynes pressure didn´t faze BG Goettingen as they went on a 8-2 run to extend their lead to 48-35. In the run they got good support again from Serb Andric with a lay in and trey while Stockton used his quickness to score with ease. Frankfurt continued to have no execution luck after diving for loose balls and muscling down offensive rebounds while BG Goettingen preferred to live and die by the three. Robertson and Murphy drilled home two tough trey´s as did Haukohl, but BG Goettingen had the comfortable lead 51-41. After his solid game in Lithuania four days earlier in Eurocup action, American Jason Clark had a tough game against BG Goettingen, but at the end of the third found some daylight scoring five points on a lay up and trey heightening his self confidence, but BG Goettingen still led 57-46. “We did a better job rebounding and got a few more stops and made big three´s”, stated Michael Stockton. “Our missed shots set a toll on us and we didn´t see much light at the end of the tunnel”, stressed Trae Bell-Haynes. BG Goettingen shot 51% from the field and 59% from the parking lot and got 26 rebounds and had 13 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 28% from the field and 27% from the parking lot and got 28 rebounds and had 8 turnovers.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jermale Jones talking basketball

The Fraport Skyliners found back to their game in the first 8 minutes of the fourth quarter allowing BG Goettingen to only three points, but couldn´t get over the hump after cutting the guests lead to only two points. The Fraport Skyliners came in the fourth quarter motivated and upped their intensity and got to work quickly as Vargas went coast to coast with a tough lay in cutting the BG Goettingen lead to 57-48. Frankfurt got their offense into rhythm as Huff and Robertson blasted home two trey´s cutting the BG Goettingen lead to only to 58-54. BG Goettingen´s offense at this point wasn´t as fluid and felt Frankfurt huffing down their backs. BG Goettingen got a rare field goal as Williams scored displaying a great knack for picking his spot and dropping a pretty 15 footer to extend BG Goettingen´s lead to 60-54. Frankfurt kept scrapping away getting Huff free throw´s and then the Finish national player then executed on a thunderous two handed dunk on the break after getting dished a shovel pass from Vargas as Frankfurt suddenly trailed only 60-58. “Frankfurt defended well getting us out of rhythm and forcing us to isolation plays”, added Michael Stockton. “This was the best part of the game where we executed our game plan. We defended the three point line and forced them to isolation. We rebounded better and got big shots from Huff and Tez”, stressed Trae Bell-Haynes. Now it was only fitting for the happy end for the Fraport Skyliners, but instead BG Goettingen stepped it up big time playing the spoiler. Basketball can be so simple at times and BG Goettingen made it look easy nailing three big times trey´s from Monninghof, Stockton and Haukohl extending the BG Goettingen lead to 69-62 and they would never look back again. Bell Haynes hit a lay in late, but Andric made a free throw sealing the win. “We got good looks at the end and finally played Gottingen basketball which is moving the ball well and whoever is open shoots. We were able to play our brand of basketball finding the open man”, stressed Michael Stockton. “That is how the game goes sometimes. They hit tough shots at the end. We have to tip our hats to them”, stressed Trae Bell-Haynes. BG Goettingen was led by Mihajlo Andric with 16 points. Pendarvis Williams added 13 points and Michael Stockton had 12 points and nine assists. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Shawn Huff with 14 points. Akeem Vargas and Trae Bell-Haynes added 10 points a piece. BG Goettingen shot 47% from the field and 54% from outside and had 38 rebounds and coughed up the ball 18 times while the Fraport Skyliners shot 29% from the field and 28% from outside and got 37 rebounds and coughed up the ball 9 times.

 

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Grind Out Tough 83-78 Win Against FC Bayern Munich To Move To 5-0

When looking at the current Pro B standings this weekend one saw four teams that had a record of 4-0. Teams that have got out of the gate early with perfect records are north team Iserlohn and in the south it was three teams with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen, Schwenningen and the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. The biggest surprise in that group was the Fraport Skyliners Juniors because since 2009 when they were born they had never began with a better record than 1-1 until this season. A big handicap each season is having all their players available because many are BBL double license players and often the schedules of the BBL and Pro B conflict. Plus Frankfurt belong to the teams with the youngest players and there is no change this season as they average 20 years of age as a team and a team like Schwenningen who have four guys 30 years or older average 27 years of age. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors are still finding their offensive rhythm and with their arsenal will get better with time, but it has been their defensive work which has shone brightest in the early going as they are second best in the league with only 67 points allowed. Frankfurt met another ambitious team that have had a good start at 3-1 with FC Bayern Munich that are even younger boasting a roster that averages 19 years of age. They have been impressive currently riding a three game winning streak being seventh best in the league in scoring points at 80 and securing rebounds with 34 per game and beat 2018 Pro B champ ScanPlus Baskets 74-70. This would be a tough test for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they had to be ready on the defensive end and were especially in the crucial last minutes as they grinded out a tough 83-78 victory against FC Bayern Munich to move to 5-0. After the win Frankfurt head coach Sebastian Gleim was content how his team rebounded from the win in Erfurt. “Last weekend we didn´t play with much self confidence and saved the win. Today we played three quarters of very good defense. We played better offensively and had good ball movement. It was our best offensive game this season”, stressed head coach Sebastian Gleim. FC Bayern Munich gave it a good fight, but just weren´t consistent enough to give Frankfurt enough problems. After the game a disappointed Viktor Frankl-Maus who had a black eye reflected on the loss. “We had ups and downs today. We didn´t start well and came back in the second quarter. That is the way how we should always play. But in the third quarter in a matter of 2-3 minutes it was tied up again as we gave them the momentum. We came back, but just didn´t have enough at the end and the technical fouls hurt. We are a young team and went into the game with a three game winning streak. We may have been too sure of ourselves. We wanted to show them that we were the better team, but in the end gave them the game”, stressed FC Bayern Munich guard Viktor Frankl-Maus.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex St Johns(NCAA) forward Richard Freudenberg who had his highest point total as a professional with 23 helping Frakfurt beat his ex team FC Bayern Munich

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors showed that they have a special luxury in that they started the game with five players with BBL experience with Freudenberg, Akodo, Zeeb, Schubert and Trtovac. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got going early as ex St Johns forward Richard Freudenberg dropped two trey´s and Brit Jules Akodo who was inserted in the starting lineup for Elijah Clarance who had dislocated a finger scored a lay in as Frankfurt led 8-4. Frankfurt had the hot hand from outside while the guests did all the damage in the paint area as they quickly tied the score 8-8 as 25 year old 206cm Nemanja Markovic made a bank shot and 17 year old 197cm shooting guard Bruno Vrcic hit an off balance shot. Frankfurt continued to keep Freudenberg involved and firing away as he hit his third trey for the 11-8 advantage. Garai Zeeb was supplying the needed leadership and controlling the tempo very well and keeping the offense going with good looks while on defense heightened the clogging in the paint area. Zeeb who got his first BBL minutes in the 2014-2015 season with Bremerhaven continued to do a great job getting his teammates involved finding ex Chemnitz big man Aaron Kayser for an easy bucket and then executing himself on a runner and American rookie JT Roach hit a step back as Frankfurt had quietly completed a 10-2 run to lead 18-10. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to defend very physical and stayed aggressive on offense. The club got added buckets from Akodo and Roach while 2017 NBBL champion Nelson Weidemann made 4 free throws to keep FC Bayern Munich in the game trailing 25-16. “Frankfurt was doing a good job moving the ball and finding the open spots. Zeeb was doing a good job finding guys and Freudenberg hit big three´s”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson.

In the second quarter FC Bayern Munich heightened their play and stormed back going on a big 17-4 run to retake the lead that they had at 2-0 to lead 33-29. Ex Dragons Rhondorf guard Victor Frankl-Maus started it off with a three and he finished the game with 12 points and 7 assists. It isn´t even November yet and the oldest on the team hasn´t regretted making the decision to move to Munich. “I am happy I made this decision. I am glad that I tried something new. This is a great team and I have great teammates. I have more confidence and know how to help my team and know what I can do to be successful. I feel more relaxed on the court. I have learned new tactics especially on defense. You can´t play for a better defensive coach than Demond Greene”, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. After the Frankl-Maus trey, three more would follow from ex Alba Berlin 210cm forward Jacob Knauf and from Vrcic and 20 year old 197cm forward Jannick Jebens. Frankfurt allowed the guests too much room on the perimeter and on offense weren´t calm enough rushing things too much. Jebens would score again with a lay in and Knauf nailed his second three in the run as FC Bayern Munich led 33-29. FC Bayern Munich got a big steal and coast to coast lay in from 16 year old 198cm Italian Sascha Grant for the 37-31 advantage, but Frankfurt fought back getting a jumper from ex Ehingen forward Tobias Jahn and Roach free throws to cut the Munich lead to only to 37-35. However Frankfurt lost a little focus at the end allowing 19 year old German Nelson Weideman to hit back to back three´s including a buzzer beater at the break as Frankfurt trailed 46-35. “Frankfurt wasn´t patient on offense and the ball was sticking too much and they didn´t play aggressive on defense and weren´t getting back on defense. Munich set good screens to get open three´s. Frankfurt didn´t help on that last buzzer beater”, added ex Auburn(NCAA) stand out Quantez Robertson. FC Bayern Munich shot 53% from the field and 57% from outside and grabbed 18 rebounds and had 6 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 18% from outside and grabbed 16 rebounds and had 7 turnovers.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing FC Bayern Munich point guard Viktor Frankl-Maus who added 12 points and 7 assists in the loss

In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors made a run battling back and there would be a few lead changes down the stretch, but they would lead by 5 points after 30 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came out on fire and rattled off an explosive 17-5 run to grab back the lead at 53-51. It hasn´t been an easy season for Jules Akodo as he has had Elijah Clarance parked in front of him and his minutes have dipped. But he took advantage with the injury to Clarance and the abundance of minutes and really took control in the run. He began quickly and got by Weidemann easily for an easy lay in. At the other end one could hear the screaming Munich coach Greene with the words “one on one defense”. He made a free throw and soon after hit a trey and free throw which translated into seven big points cutting the Munich lead to 48-43. The only negative thing about Akodo´s stat line on this night was his 5/11 free throw shooting, but other than that he had a good evening with 17 points, 5 assists and 5 steals. “With Clarance out we all had to come together and play as a team. I came out more aggressive on the defensive end and let that spark my offense”, stated Jules Akodo. “His defensive aggressiveness was so important for us tonight”, added head coach Sebastian Gleim. The Frankfurt aggressive defense forced FC Bayern Munich to numerous turnovers and they took advantage on offense getting the lead back as Freudenberg continued his stellar offense dropping a trey and then making a massive two handed dunk from the baseline after leaving his man in the dust. Freudenberg finished with 23 points the most so far in his professional career and explained after the win how his mentality had changed from the first two home game wins against Wurzburg and Giessen. “This game was very important for my self confidence. My shooting percentage wasn´t good in my first two homes games. I went more with the flow of the offense in those games. Tonight I concentrated on getting into the game with my defense and rebounding to get my offense going”, smiled Richard Freudenberg. “He was very present on defense on the pick and roll defense and help defense”, added Sebastian Gleim. Roach added a trey and Frankfurt led again 53-51. Frankl-Maus nailed another three to give FC Bayern Munich the 56-53 advantage. However this didn´t faze Frankfurt as they closed out the third quarter with a brutal 8-0 run to lead 61-56 after three quarters. In the run Frankfurt was fortified by a Zeeb lay in and an Akodo three pointer. “We had a very bad second quarter and knew we had to come back with more energy and did. We also played better on offense and had better ball movement”, added Richard Freudenberg. “Frankfurt defended aggressively all game and the refs let it go. We had to try to match it, but that gave us big problems. We learned a big lesson today. We need to be more aggressive. I got a black eye today, but Frankfurt wasn´t called for a foul”, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and highly talented 16 year old Italian U-18 national player Sasha Grant of FC Bayern Munich

In the fourth quarter The Fraport Skyliners Juniors jumped all over FC Bayern Munich again only to allow them right back into the game, but couldn´t totally get over the hump. It started out well for the guests as Weidemann nailed a trey cutting the Frankfurt lead to 61-59. However Frankfurt then jumped out on a 11-0 run to lead 72-59. Roach scored 5 points with a trey and Akodo extra pass for the dime and lay in and Freudenberg remained active in the paint with an offensive rebound and put back and lay in. Roach was big in the run getting two steals as was ex Freiburg forward Cosmo Gruehn with a block. FC Bayern Munich didn´t come to terms with the Frankfurt continued aggressive defense. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors now allowed FC Bayern Munich back in the game on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 74-69 as they chipped away and the lousy home team free throw shooting which was 21-37 for the night also helped in their come back. FC Bayern Munich got to the free throw line and made their shots while Frankfurt had their problems. Weidemann continued to be his aggressive self making free throws and a lay in and suddenly with 1.10 minutes to play FC Bayern Munich was breathing down Frankfurt´s back trailing only 77-75. After a miss from Frankl-Maus, it was Garai Zeeb that made the play of the game that sealed the win. He used his whole experience in his fourth season with Frankfurt picking the rights spot and finding Cosmo Gruehn back door for the easy lay up. The German than made the free throw for the comfortable 80-75 lead with 22 seconds to play. “Zeeb has been in these situations so much. He stays calm and composed. That is why he is on the court in that situation because he will make the play”, warned Jules Akodo. Frankl-Maus hit a huge three with 12 seconds to go to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 82-78, but it was too little too late as Frankfurt won their fifth game of the season. “We stuck together as a team at the end and didn´t fall apart. We know each other very well and continue to be very motivated to show we are the best team. We all want to promote ourselves for that chance with the BBL team”, added Richard Freudenberg. “We were missing some luck at the end. We gave up too many offensive rebounds and easy lay ups. Our communication on defense hurt us. Defensive execution killed us”, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Richard Freudenberg with 23 points. Jules Akodo added 17 points and JT Roach 16 points. FC Bayern Munich was led by Nelson Weidemann with 19 points. Viktor Frankl-Maus and Jacob Knauf added 12 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 30% from the three point line and got 32 rebounds and coughed up the ball 16 times while FC Bayern Munich shot 43% from the field and 38% from the three point line and got 35 rebounds and coughed up the ball 21 times.

Who Needs Stockton Or O´Quinn Stories When BG Goettingen Has Pendarvis Williams Making His Own

When Pendarvis Williams got to Goettingen, it probably didn´t take long for him to hear about most likely the two most cherished club anecdotes with them winning the Eurochallenge cup in 2010 which was only the third German international club title in the history of German basketball at that time and that magical evening in Braunschweig where they defeated Turkish club Besiktas Istanbul and Mr practice NBA legend Allen Iverson. But there was possibly a name that didn´t right away ring the alarm bells for the American when hearing Stockton since that is a rather common name, but it probably didn´t take long either for him to learn who the father of his new teammate Michael Stockton is. It isn´t uncommon in the easyCredit BBL to have players with very famous dads as in Frankfurt the Fraport Skyliners have the name Voeller and for anyone that hasn´t been  locked in a closet for a lifetime or been helplessly lost in Berlin city for a while will know young or old that Rudi Voeller is a football legend and in Goettingen Michael Stockton can rarely go a day or two without having to answer something about his dad. So it is likely that Williams has heard something pertaining to Stockton´s dad John or even got an ear full of when the mail man Karl Malone dunked on seven kids including his teammate Michael when he was a kid. Or even more dramatic telling the story of how Charles Barkley declared himself better as a role model than his own dad when he was a mere six years old.  Williams didn´t come to Goettingen empty handed either as he could tell some exciting stories about his ex teammate Kyle O´Quinn who was his teammate at Norfolk State for two seasons before the double double monster with the frightening beard went on the NBA train. In Bayreuth it probably isn´t any different with teammates asking David Stockton the low down on his legendary dad. In Goettingen the Williams O´Quinn stories won´t be able to keep up with the Stockton stories, but the American doesn´t care, because he is the process of making his own special stories that will be told down the road and will be taken with joy by the Goettingen fans.

Williams is a 26 year old 198cm shooting guard from the city of brotherly love Philadelphia that will turn 27 on November 13th and is currently in his fifth professional season with BG Goettingen. He might not have totally come from the lowest leagues, but his basketball path hasn´t been one that has allowed him the best opportunities to present himself, but that hasn´t hindered him to keep grinding and putting up very solid stats in the NCAA for a lesser known school with Norfolk State and shinning in the Italian Serie A-2 while always looking for that opportunity to really showcase his game at a top level. He has arrived in the easyCredit BBL and after a few games has proven that he can perform at a high level and is looking to make his own unforgettable sweet stories that will always be remembered. The American began his career at Bodine High School and then went to school in Virginia at Norfolk State(NCAA) from 2010-2014. He had a stellar career there winning the 2012 MEAC tournament and was MEAC player of the year in 2013. One of his most memorable times was reaching the NCAA tournament in 2012 and upsetting second seeded Missouri 86-84 outlasting future NBA players like Phil Pressey and Kim English while holding his own with 20 points. He probably will never forget his teammate Kyle O´Quinn yelling like a madman after the amazing win “we messed up some brackets”. However the March Madness high quickly became a low as Florida brought them back down to earth with a crushing 84-50 win.

The American was able to improve his scoring and rebounding averages every season and averaged double figures in his last three seasons. He also demonstrated his precision shooting never shooting below 38% in his first htree seasons. He played a total of 132 NCAA games. In his last three years he played 100 NCAA games and scored in double figures in 75 games. Some of his best individual scoring games were against Newberry where he exploded with 38 points, scorched Stillman for 32 points, got Boston University for 27 points and hit Howard and Coppin State with 25 points each. He ended his Norfolk State career as a senior playing 34 games averaging 15.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 60.6%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 83.3%. Ex Norfolk State guard Kevin Worseley who played a few years before Williams did there and  briefly in Germany as a professional remembers Williams being recruited out of high school. “He surpassed everyone’s expectations of what he could do for the program. I am glad to see him playing in the BBL and proud of his career”, stressed Kevin Worsley.

The American began his professional career in 2014 and before he even thought about a European career, he was already knocking heads with future NBA teams in the summer league. He played with the Houston Rockets that reached the NBA Summer League final, but he hardly got playing time as he got into three games averaging 0,7ppg and 1,0rpg. It is always tougher coming from a lesser known conference and lesser known school in reaching the NBA, but Williams definitely had NBA range with his shot, but so did hundreds of other guards and many more that played at bigger and better known schools. “I don’t feel like he was in the shadows of Kyle O’Quinn because NBA Teams noticed him and the Houston Rockets picked him up on their Summer League team. The NBA is about being the right fit and I don´t know what he was missing as far as making it to the NBA but he might be able to get into a workout if he keeps doing good in Europe and especially the BBL”, stressed Kevin Worsley. His professional career took him overseas taking him to Italy. In his first season he played with Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-A2 Gold) playing 45 games averaging 14.5ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 80.7%. Even if he played in the second Italian division, it had been gaining in reputation and was a league that had very nice budgets which was always a target for Americans. He was able to come out and play good minutes right away as there were only two Americans with him and David Dudzinski. He gained some early attention as a professional as he hit Biella with 26 points and Torino with 24 points back to back. After a very solid rookie season, he made the next step up signing with Virtus Obiettivo Lavoro Bologna (Italy-Serie A) and played 11 games averaging 7.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.6%, FT: 86.7%. His season was cut short and he then gave it a go in the G-league with the Maine Red Claws, but played only 10 games averaging 0.6ppg, 1.1rpg. Here his season was cut short again in December 2016 and for the second year in a row he was at home during winter. He returned back to Europe in 2017 with a huge chip on his shoulder and wanting to prove all doubters wrong and returned to an old stomping ground in Italy with the A-2 Serie A returning to his old club where he had had success with as a rookie and didn´t disappoint anyone at  Moncada Solar Agrigento averaging 12.8ppg, 5.9rpg, 3.8apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 82.2%.

Now after a season of finding his game again, he doesn´t want to falter again the way he did in the Serie A with Bologna, but have success with BG Goettingen and keep rolling with his game in the BBL. So far he hasn´t disappointed anyone in Goettingen yet as he is leading the team in scoring and helped contribute to a cup upset over the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. He shot 15-20 from the field in the first two BBL games and has shown that he can be a leader on offense. His third BBL game against Wurzburg resulted in a tight 91-87 victory where he didn´t shoot as consistent as in his first two games, but was still good with 22 points on 8/18 shooting. He is an athletic shooting guard who can spend time at the 3 position too if needed. He can defend on all perimeter opponents, reads the game situations well and has a good shot selection. “He is a really good player and reminds me of another Philadelphia player that I played with who has had a pro good career with Akeem Wright. They are both 6’6 and can play a various of different positions”, added Kevin Worsley. Other´s have compared him to a Michael Carter Williams on account of his physicality and ball handling expertise. But he actually received the biggest compliment that a player could ever become. Ok so it wasn´t Lebron or Kobe, but who wouldn´t take being compared to Penny Hardaway? There also has to be a reason that a guy like Williams was called Penny at Norfolk State. “He reminds of Penny Hardaway hence the nickname. He’s a great guy and has always been himself since the first day he stepped on campus. Everybody loves Penny so I could see him being a fan favorite for any team that he plays on”, warned Kevin Worsley. It has only been two BBL games and he only mustered 7 points in the big cup upset against the MHP Riesen, but the season is long and there will always be ups and downs for players. But with the experience and skill set that Williams has, he could very well turn many heads and surprise others with his stellar play this season. “I am confident Penny will make himself a household name in the BBL. He’s a hard worker and very versatile so he will be able to adjust and play in any system. He has a high basketball IQ and doesn’t shy away from work”, stressed Kevin Worsley. Williams and O´Quinn brought certain Dream Team comparisons at Norfolk State and this season BG Goettingen fans will be happy with their own little version of Dream team magic to a degree however one wants to look at it. “Pendarvis and Kyle was like Penny and Shaq, but now the BBL is bringing back history of the 1996 USA Dream Team with Stockton and Penny in the backcourt once again. No matter if the coin lands on heads or tails you will always have good luck with that Penny” Behold the Green and Gold”, stressed ex Norfolk State guard Kevin Worsley. One thing is for sure, Williams may still have the green and gold colors of Norfolk State in his heart, but at the moment he has the purple and white colors of BG Goettingen bolted into his mind as he is creating new memorable stories in Germany this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isaac Bonga Controlled His Own Destiny To Get Into The Competitive NBA Door Of The Los Angeles Lakers

It was just another normal late winter evening in early March 2017 as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had to beat the Giants Nordlingen in a do or die game to secure their ticket for the Pro B playoffs which they did in fine fashion 83-59 and in a way stole the show from young 17 year old German phenom Isaac Bonga who had produced his second rare feat of the season. His first incredible accomplishment was at the start of the season where he became the fifth youngest player ever to get inserted into a BBL game at age 16 and the second happened on this night against Nordlingen. At the 1.29 minute mark of the fourth quarter in a game already decided, ex Bremerhaven point guard Garai Zeeb used the ball reversal zipping a quick pass from one side of the court to the other finding Isaac Bonga on the wing hanging out all alone as he squared his feet didn´t even hesitate for a blink of a second and fired away finding nothing but net at the 1.27 minute mark and thus registering his first triple double as a young professional with a 10 point, 15 rebound and 10 assist game. One could cautiously say after posting stats like this it wouldn´t have been strange if he would have gotten a standing ovation in the Skyliners office Monday morning or at least somebody coming up with the magical phrase and preaching “It´s not a bird, it´s not a plane, it´s Super Bonga. The phrase may be strong, but Superman and Bonga do have one thing in common with the skyscraper link of Metropolis and Frankfurt. Strange as it may be, it was his more fragile three point shot that sealed the triple double and not his bread and butter penetration that more often than not makes him look like a man among kids when he glides to the hoop unscathed and when it counted most, his outside shot stayed surprisingly faithful as he went 2/3 from the parking lot erasing any doubt about the previous nine contests where he had gone a scary 1/21. After the big win and playoff reward, his triple double remained somewhat of a side note as the slick German used his immaculate and positive character making a huge accomplishment look like any other basketball working night not forgetting his deficits. ““It is a very good feeling getting this triple double. I am happy that I was able to find my teammates and that they found me tonight” I know that I have to improve my shot, but when I let that last one go, it looked good and then I was relieved when it was in”, stressed Isaac Bonga. This was just another story of many in the last 24 months of Isaac Bonga as he was slowly approaching the age of 18 and controlling his own destiny looking to get through the competitive NBA door.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber covered Isaac Bonga for two seasons in Germany from 2016-2018 covering 3 leagues with the BBL, Pro B and NBBL where the German played in. This photo was with Isaac Bonga after the NBBL playoff lost against IBAM in 2017

Isaac Bonga´s family comes from Conga, Africa, but he was born in Neuwied Germany a Klay Thompson long three pointer away from the beautiful city Koblenz which lies on the majestic Rhein and Mosel rivers and in terms of basketball country is far away from huge basketball communities like Frankfurt, Bamberg or Berlin. Bonga comes from an athletic family as his brother Taris plays soccer for Fortuna Duesseldorf´s second team and Isaac also started to play Germany´s most popular sport at age seven before making the jump to basketball at age 10. He started his basketball career and learned his early basketball trade with the Post SV – Luetzel Baskets Koblenz junior team under the guidance of coach Marcel Kastor. It wasn´t hard to see that Bonga had talent, but just how far he could go depended on how much work he would put in. It was obvious right away that this gifted young man wouldn´t just spend a few hours a day, but put in the extra yards and miles and go all out as his work ethic as a 12 year old was already extraordinary and way beyond his years. He was able to let his talent do the talking on the court as he put up mind boggling stats in the JBBL(under 16 youth league) and was garnering the interest of scouts from top Euroleague teams in Spain that have guys like Messi and Ronaldo in the football department as putting up 40 points or grabbing 15 rebounds in a game was just another day at school for Bonga as one could trade the phrase a man among kids with a kid among babies. It didn´t take long before the German was able to suit up with SG Luetzel-Post Koblenz (2.Regionalliga) in the 2014-2015 season as now all of a sudden he was still a kid, but the babies suddenly turned into men. The ambitious team wanted to move up to the Regionalliga and did which cut into Bonga´s playing time. However in the next season 2015-2016 he played a few games as a 15 year old in the Regionaliga for SG Luetzel-Post Koblenz (2.Regionalliga) before turning 16 years old and finishing the season playing 24 Regionalliga games averaging  5.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 19.0%, FT: 64.1%. One has to remember, Koblenz was filled with talented experienced players so being able to put up such fine stats in his limited minutes was a reflection on his gifted talent. What many didn´t know, Bonga was already in the Fraport Skyliners organization playing for their NBBL(U-19 youth league) team Eintracht Frankfurt averaging 15.9ppg, 7.9rpg, 3.6apg. I can remember a balmy Halloween night in 2015 as the Fraport Skyliners were in Hagen, their second assistant coach Eric Detlev was sent on the mission to watch the young kid play a Regionalliga game in Limburg 70 kilometers away from Frankfurt. The Fraport Skyliners were like many BBL teams very interested in this phenom as a year later Bonga already had made his debut in the EasyCredit BBL.

Bonga Moved to the Fraport Skyliners in the summer of 2016 as Sebastian Gleim now the Pro B coach paid a big part in him signing a four year contract and in his first season had triple service playing for the Fraport Skyliners in the EasyCredit BBL, Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the Pro B, and Eintracht Frankfurt in the NBBL getting the best conditions so that he could develop further while also going to school. He came to the club as a huge talent, but already displayed his unending abilities in pre season in a game against the RheinStars Cologne on the Wiesbaden airbase where he was unveiling fancy no look passes that coupled with his length brought the first comparisions to Magic Johnson and was wetting the appetites of many for more to come from only a 16 year old. Bonga entered the 2016-2017 season at 203cm and a wing span of 2,14 that grew to 205cm and 2,19 as the season went on. The German has stated early on that his favorite player is ex NBA player Jason Williams and his current role model is Milwaukee Bucks Greek beast Giannis Antetokounmpo and not only he had seen this comparison as that name also has come out of the mouths of many others like ex Lok Bernau guard Pierre Bland. Other comparisons also have been to players like big guards Greek legends Dimitris Diamantidis and Theodoros Papaloukas or other NBA players like Shaun Livingston or Michael Carter-Williams. At first glance, it is his body that exuberates sheer athleticism even before one has seen him take flight to the rim like a hungry hawk looking for it´s next prey. Even if you have never seen him play a second just by looking at his stat lines in the Pro B and NBBL where he saw ample minutes, he gave filling the stat sheet a new meaning the way guards like Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade have been proving for years in the NBA.

Even though Bonga is 205cm and still growing he sees himself as a point guard even though guys with that height are usually a power forward or even a center. For those that have watched him closely one could argue what his biggest strength is on the court as he can do so many things well. Obviously his passing skills are unbelievable for his age and one can only wonder what type of passer he will be in 3-4 years. He also excels with his quick drive to the hoop which has been unstoppable in the lower leagues, but how well will it develop and translate at the G-League and NBA levels as his body continues to grow. To be able to pass the ball so effectively also has to do with his fantastic basketball IQ and court vision that is strengthened with his 205cm that allows him to have a lot better view of the court as his opponents constantly have mismatches to battle with. Another big strength in his arsenal is the mental side as he has a very ambitious self confidence on the court. His work ethic also continues to get lauded. He always wanted to learn and get better and never has had that satisfied feeling that young players often get when the hype gets too big or when they simply over train too much and burn out. Bonga has received a lot of hype as he has graced the cover of German basketball magazine BIG and was a projected 2018 NBA first round pick for the whole 2016-2017 season and was only stuck behind Slovenian basketball sensation Luka Donic who became a NBA lottery pick last summer. Bonga coped well with the press and was able to balance three teams and school. It was a lot of fun telling American players before a Pro B game remember the name Isaac Bonga or asking a question about him in an interview. After 40 minutes, the Americans had a better idea of who Bonga was and for the most part were impressed by the 17 year old. “Bonga has a lot of potential. He is very big for a guard and has a good eye for the pick and role. He is something very special”, warned ex Nordlingen Giants American Terence Smith who led all scorers with 26 points, but witnessed Bonga´s triple double lead Frankfurt to the win in the 2016-2017 season. However there were some who have put on the safety brake concerning Bonga´s NBA future as he is only a kid and rushing things too much might be more disadvantageous than advantageous. Many saw him in the NBA next while others saw him taking more time to get there. “He still has a lot of work ahead of him. I see him in the NBA in 4-5 years. He needs to work on his shot and decision making, but he is an undisputed huge talent. He needs to concentrate fully on Frankfurt. He will have some good BBL games, but won´t be consistent. He has a very good self confidence and he needs to continue to play Pro B to get minutes and he needs to dominate there the way Dennis Schroeder did with Braunschweig and take responsibility”, warned  TSV Oberhaching Deisenhofen (Regionalliga) head coach Mario Matic in the summer of 2017. Two time Pro B scoring leader Ricky Easterling played against Bonga once losing 66-63 in Frankfurt with BG Karlsruhe and caught the talented German on an off day as he netted three points in 24 minutes. Easterling is careful about not adding more unneeded hype for the 17 year old. “”I feel Bonga has a lot of talent and potential to be a very good player. I think he could make a name for himself in the BBL If he works hard and is able to reach his full potential then I think he could possibly get drafted in the NBA”, stressed Ricky Easterling in the 2016-2017 season.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber talking basketball with Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka in May 2018 as he came to Germany to personally observe Isaac Bonga

 

In 2016-2017 in the Pro B for the Fraport Skyliners he played  20 games averaging 11.0ppg, 6.5rpg, 4.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 23.0%, FT: 71.4%. He scored in double figures in eight games and registered four double doubles and hit the Bayer Giants Leverkusen with 26 points. He didn´t play as much in the NBBL for the Fraport Skyliners due to conflicts in his schedule playing 5 games averaging 11.4ppg, 8.0rpg, 4.6apg, 2.0spg, 1.2bpg, 2PT: 56.8%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 50.0. He wasn´t the dominating scorer, but he didn´t have to be as his role was to keep the team together at both ends of the court and his stats demonstrated that. Everybody understood that if the club needed instant scoring or were in trouble, that he would come through. In the BBL, he got some minutes here and there to get his feet wet in the top league playing double digit minutes against Ludwigsburg and ratiopharm Ulm and holding his own on the defensive end getting a couple steals against the aggressive style of head coach John Patrick and Ludwigsburg. Bonga also had some highlight during the season with one being taking part at the Ciutat de L’Hospitalet International Junior Tournament at the end of 2016 (Qualifications to ANGT Finals) reaching the(Semifinals + All-Tournament Team where he played 4 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg, 1.8spg, 2PT: 50%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 82.4%. He also took part at the Kaunas Adidas Next Generation Tournament (Qualifications to ANGT Finals) getting nominated to the All-Tournament Team) playing 4 games: Score-5(14.5ppg), Reb-1(9.5rpg), 5.3apg, Steals-1(3.3spg), 1.5bpg, 2FGP: 43.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 64.7%. Here he found some more fans especially NBA scouts and his 2018 NBA draft stock continued to rise in the major mock drafts. His toughest foe there was Frenchman Yves Pons who most likely made a note of Bonga in his mental notebook as they will probably battle again sometime down the road. The next highlight came in February as he traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to not only breathe some NBA air at the 2017 NBA Allstar weekend, but to also participate at the Basketball Without Boarders Global camp where he dueled against big time prospects like Canadian RJ Bennet, Nigerian Charles Bassey or Angolian Silvio deSouza. He also met NBA players like Wayne Ellington, Justin Holiday, Jamaal Murray who like Bonga is still a kid and Meyers Leonard. Here he was able to gather valuable tips from the NBA players on leadership and character development. Back in Germany, he reached the Pro B playoffs losing to Lok Bernau and led his team to the NBBL playoffs, but his dream of playing in the top 4 in Frankfurt in front of family and friends were halted by future Stanford player Oscar Da Silva and the International Basketball Akademie Munich. In the last month of the EasyCredit BBL schedule he was able to play more minutes because the club had missed the playoffs. He showed his potential against Science City Jena scoring eight points and hauling down four rebounds and scoring six points, getting four rebounds and dishing out three assists against ratiopharm Ulm.

With his first professional season completed with the Fraport Skyliners, the German didn´t have a few months to sit back and relax, but had the next summer highlights on the basketball horizon. In June 2017  the German took part at the Addidas Eurocamp in Trevisio, Italy and showcased his talent and as usual his passing expertise turned heads right away, but his unending potential and athleticism also remained with the many scouts in attendance. He didn´t put up the massive stats which is what everyone looks at first and this could have been one of the reasons why his 2018 NBA Draft stock continued to fall. He next ventured to Cairo, Egypt to play in the U-19 World championships and he helped his team to a very respectable fifth place finish. The team was stocked with ample talent like Oscar Da Silva, Louis Olinde, Philipp Herkenhoff and Nelson Weidemann and many more, but once again Bonga didn´t play the spoiled child and cried about not being in the spotlight, but played for the team as he always does. He was unable to take over in the tournament playing seven games averaging 6.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 41.5%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 69.2%. It is even difficult to say the stats were solid for a guy like Bonga who would rather be in the NBA yesterday than tomorrow and it is usually on stages like this where those future big time players make a name for themselves, but instead the German was one of many on his team that played ok, but didn´t exactly turn heads. Especially his 1/12 shooting from downtown was a sore spot as his shooting continues to be his biggest deficiency in his game that he needs to improve on. However despite the less than spectacular stats Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert was happy with Bonga´s development then and felt that stats don´t define the kids game. “One can´t forget that Isaac was a year younger than many at the U-19 tournament. He went through some adversary and had ups and downs, but he fought through it well, At his age now, one can´t measure a players potential by their stats. Many NBA scouts now look at potential more than stats. You can have a 18 or 19 year old talent that put up big stats now, but don´t have the potential. That is just how it works these days. I have been very happy with Isaac´s development in the last five months”, warned Gordon Herbert in late summer 2017. Bonga then decided to withdraw from playing at the 2017 U-18 European championships and return back to Frankfurt and work with the training staff and prepare for the upcoming so vital season in the development of his game.

It was late summer 2017 and the young German talent Bonga was back in Frankfurt for over a month taking in two training sessions a day while having that Gordon Herbert quote ring in his mind every so often with “Isaac is probably the biggest talent Frankfurt has ever seen”. He had a long talk with his family and they came to the decision that it was best for him to drop out of school after the 11th grade and concentrate 100% only on basketball. Bonga knew that the expectations were high so coupled with his immense work ethic, drive and self confidence he continued to work on his pride and joy basketball to continue to become the best possible. Fraport Skyliners assistant coach Klaus Perwas noticed something in his shooting mechanics which most often than not resulted in him flinging the ball more than shooting it and developing that nice arc. Correcting a shooting problem can take time, but the German made steps forward in getting a more stable shot. Another weakness is his ballhandling that many experts have stated isn´t good enough to be a good point guard at a very high level. Bonga is more than content that the point guard is his position and that is another area that he diligently tweaks while also working on his scrawny body to make it stronger. He wants to be the most complete player he can be and also continues to concentrate on improving his footwork as well as his post game something that he hasn´t had to use as much, but maybe he can look at some old Magic Johnson video´s and incorporate some of that into his game. At times Bonga tries to do too much on the court and working on staying calm is another area as a point guard that he needs to build on. Bonga´s goals have been always high with the NBA being on top and right below is being the starting point guard for the Fraport Skyliners. The club brought in NCAA rookie Tai Webster for the 2017-2018 season. One of Bonga´s goals last season was to become that starting point guard. There were games that he started and exceled. Herbert wasn´t surprised by Bongá´s self confidence. “That is a great goal and vision for him. He will play BBL and Pro B. In the Pro B, he can learn by making mistakes and get minutes. It continues to be a process for him and it is important he gets minutes. He has been working on his shot for the last month and has made strides on the physical and mental side and has a great feel for the game. He is great at observing and learning and is the type of kid that when corrected doesn´t need to be told a second time. He has a great basketball IQ and we have seen great improvement. He has a chance to get quality minutes in the BBL this season”, stressed Gordon Herbert in the summer of 2017. The NBA chatter didn´t go away in the 2017-2018 season and as he was trying to develop into a good BBL role player at age 18 in hopes of his NBA stock will rise again and there were more NBA scouts in the Fraport arena in his second BBL season. It didn´t take him to long to arrive in the EasyCredit BBL as he produced 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the first preseason game of the season against Bonn. Granted he didn´t play 36 minutes per game in the BBL, but that little Bonga introduction had to be appetizing for what was still to come.. Fraport Skyliner guard Philip Scrubb was more than impressed by his development. “The coaching staff have invested in him and see his wide skill set. I am sure that he will be able to contribute this season. He has gotten so much better since the last time I was here in pre season 2016. I think that the best I can do will be to push him hard in practice”, warned Philip Scrubb in 2017.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Isaac Bonga after a Fraport Skyliners win in Rhondorf in december 2016

Bonga didn´t have the type of BBL breakout season in 2017-2018 that Dennis Schroeder had in 2012-2013, but it was good enough to get drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and possibly be teammates already this season with the best player on the planet Lebron James and ex NBA allstar Rajon Rondo and live in the glitz of L.A something that the German surely would have had a laugh attack or accidently chocked on his food had someone predicted this happening only three years ago when he was playing German Regionalliga for Koblenz at the age of 15. It was August 29th when I reached Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert at 1:30 in the afternoon and he seemed to be his typical self having that relaxed tone in his voice no matter if it was an off day, before a do or die game or pre season as was the case then. It had been a little more than three months since his team´s season ended and more than two months since the German wunder boy Bonga was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. A lot happened in that time as the guard rotation had changed as Tai Webster and Bonga are gone while Frankfurt will go with experienced Jason Clark this season and Canadian rookie Trae Bell-Haynes. One does feel it in the voice of Herbert that he would have liked to have Bonga around for another 1-2 years in Frankfurt, but as is always the case basketball is a business and one has to accept it. But at the same time one also notices the utmost respect from the Canadian coach for Bonga in that he earned getting drafted and one has to respect that. “Isaac is a great example for all young German players in that he had a vision of where he wanted to go and he put in the work to get there. You can´t do the work and have no vision. I am so proud of what he achieved with us”, stated Gordon Herbert.In his second season with the Fraport Skyliners he concentrated mostly on playing BBL, but did have the one or other moment where he played Pro B and didn´t even play NBBL(U-19) anymore simply because he was too good. In his second full BBL season the German national player played 34 games averaging 6.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 90.0%. It was statistically a rapid rise to the season before, but then again not so much where one could predict that he would be an automatic NBA first round draft pick. But people that watched him closely in his second season with the Fraport Skyliners saw rapid improvement and head coach Gordon Herbert didn´t do it all alone, but shared the credit. “Klaus Perwas did a great job working with him. He made huge steps in the last two months of the season. If he hadn´t broken his ribs and been out 3-4 weeks, he could have been our starting point guard then. He was playing at a very high level then. He has a very good basketball understanding and worked on his weaknesses. If he had stayed another year in Europe, he could have been a top 15 NBA first round pick in 2019. That is what I was told as I´m not knowledgeable to make that judgement. He still has a way to go and we will see if it was a good move”, warned Gordon Herbert.

During the 2017-2018 season there weren´t only international scouts of NBA teams in the Fraport arena each weekend, but at times even NBA Gm´s found the need to check out what all the hoopla was about the German boy. The massive interest from the NBA really picked up in the latter part of the season and hit it´s peak during the playoff series against FC Bayern Munich as there were at times 8 official´s or more of NBA teams watching him strut his basketball magic and even had Danny Ainge´s son Austin at the game as well as Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka. At this moment it must of occurred to most basketball experts that there was some serious interest from the Los Angeles Lakers. It´s one thing to see a scout of an NBA team in attendance, but when the GM takes the time to be there in person it is definitely a big deal. During halftime, Pelinka remained reserved and didn´t want to be quoted and instead of giving his two cents about Bonga, but asked my opinion of my thoughts about Bonga. Bonga had some nice plays in the game and showed that his athleticism was at another level. It was difficult to really look through Pelinka and what his thoughts were after that game in Frankfurt, but only a month later when Bonga was drafted in the second round by the Philadephia 76ers and traded to Los Angeles, one came to the conclusion that he must have been impressed. Most basketball experts in Germany had speculated pretty much throughout the whole season that he would remove his name from the NBA draft and play another season in Germany, but when he didn´t do it, some thought that he must have had a firm promise from a team that he would get drafted. “I know that there was interest from two teams and that the Lakers was one of them, but I didn´t know if he had a promise from one of them”, expressed Gordon Herbert.

Bonga had an unspectacular NBA Summer League with the Los Angeles Lakers playing 7 games averaging 2.1ppg, 1.0rpg. He didn´t really get a chance to present himself as he played sparse minutes, but here and there he had some nice plays, but not really enough time to showcase what he can do. It is most probable that he will play his first season in the G-League with the Lakers farm team South Bay and here and there get some minutes in the NBA. A big plus for Bonga is that club president Magic Johnson is extremely high on him seeing a bit of himself in him in that both are tall point guards. Another reason why Bonga will most likely receive extensive grooming in his rookie season with the Lakers is the unending abundance of guards with Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Sviatoslav Mykhailuk, Gary Payton, and Alex Caruso. A big plus is that Bonga will not only get minutes in the G-League, but also be able to practice with the Lakers a lot since the G-League home court is also where the Lakers practice. Not too mention having the chance to be on the same court with Lebron James on a daily basis is something where he can only pray to God every night and say thanks for being so blessed. Head coach Gordon Herbert isn´t sure where Bonga can fit into a team that´s goal is to win a title right away and knows that having fellow German Moritz Wagner won´t really have an impact on him because he has a character that is ready for this challenge. “It is tough to say where Isaac fits into a team that has to pressure to win right away. He will have to earn his minutes just like he would any other place. Having Wagner around might help at first, but Isaac is a worldly person that gets along with all. He will have no problems going to a new culture”, added Gordon Herbert. The Fraport Skyliners groomed Bonga into a point guard, but critics always reminded him that he doesn´t have the ball handling to be a point guard as he just didn´t have that consistency in the BBL. But when you have a mentor like Magic Johnson behind you that loves his game and length then it can only be fitting that the Lakers will do all possible  for him to continue to develop into a solid NBA point guard. “It is tough to say where he will play with the Lakers. I see him as a 1 on offense guarding a 3 on defense. But that could change. I also could see him being a point forward. He is still very young and only time will tell”, warned Gordon Herbert. What many people tend to forget that Bonga was the youngest drafted in 2018 at age 18. The sky is the limit for him and being around so much talent and experience will be the best environment for the kid. Ex Middle Tennessee State (NCAA) standout Nick King was Bonga´s teammate with the Lakers in the Summer League and sees a good future for him. “He is a talented kid. He will be a good NBA player in a few years”, stressed Nick King.

After two years with the Fraport Skyliners, Isaac Bonga is gone, but he will never be forgotten. Head coach Gordon Herbert has one very fond memory and that goes back to the first time he shared the floor with him. “When we worked him out for the first time one could see right away that he was a kid that wanted to learn and absorb as much as possible. He was no kid that had an ego or knew everything better, but simply a kid that wanted to get better. That was a reason why it was so good to work with him. My first impression wasn´t good, but great”, warned Gordon Herbert. While Herbert was preparing for the Gezeiten Cup and wondering if Brady Heslip will be the next Phil Scrubb, If Clark and Bell-Haynes will be able to replace Webster and Bonga and if they have a deep enough rotation up front with Wohlfarth-Bottermann and Erik Murphy, the Canadian mastermind who played at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles won´t forget his last conversation with Bonga while he was in Frankfurt in August. “I told him that if you really want something in life, you have to go get it. I told him to be aggressive and that it is a learning process and that he should take everything one day at a time. He has the motivation to get better. If he wants something, he needs to get it. We were tough on him and he earned every minute with us”, warned Gordon Herbert. It is very exciting times in Fraport Skyliners country as the club is in it´s 20th season and want it to be a memorable one while all eyes will be on Isaac Bonga as he lives his NBA dream with the Los Angeles Lakers. It won´t surprise anyone this season when the club sells out the game of the year against FC Bayern, but who knows with all the amazing moments that Bonga will have this season having Lebron James as a teammate, learning from Mr triple double Rajon Rondo and battling against a Lonzo Ball in a practice, the Koblenz native will surely have unending stories to talk about when he returns back to Frankfurt in the summer of 2018. Having all those unforgettable stories of the NBA could even fill the 5004 seat Fraport arena if he does mention in good time before the date that he will have Lebron James as a side kick by his side helping him recount his rookie season in the NBA. Then again dreaming of something like this is always possible for anyone that loves basketball and was something Bonga did for years about reaching the NBA and now it has come true for the kid who was able to control his destiny in Frankfurt and get into the competitive NBA door with the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

 

The Fraport Skyliners Point Guards Carry Team To Eurocup Win In Vilnius 70-61

Ok after six games it is obvious that Fraport Skyliner Jason Clark won´t be stealing Jared Jordan´s nickname Mr Pass anytime soon, but the ex Georgetown standout supplied the needed energy and scoring punch when the team needed it most helping carry the 2016 FIBA Europe Cup winner to it´s second Euro Cup win over Rytas Vilnius 70-61 as it´s record grew to 2-1. You have those pass first point guards and you have the scoring point guards and Clark definitely belongs to the latter. So far this season he has shown his moments in the playmaking category and been that scorer he was brought in for scoring 16 points against Turin and Vechta. There has been criticism that the club has a point guard problem, but does it really? The season is young and the team continues to find ways to win and in the second half it was the point guard duo of Clark and Bell Haynes that took control and were vital in the team escaping with a win. The American who made a name for himself in Belgium playing most of his professional career there and is on the way of doing the same thing in Germany now was in good spirits shortly before boarding a plane in Lithuania back to Germany the day after and was content about the victory “The key to the win was our defensive intensity. We brought it from the start and did a good job continuing to do it in the second half”, said Jason Clark.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jason Clark after a game in Frankfurt. Clark led a second half charge in Vilnius helping the Skyliners to big 70-61 win as he steered 14 points

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Lazeric Jones (AS Monaco) The NBA Isn´t Always About Scoring But Being Efficient And Fitting Into A Puzzle

Lazeric Jones is a 28 year old 182cm point guard from Chicago, Illinois that is playing his seventh professional season and first with AS Monaco Basket (France-ProA). He has played in various countries in Europe like Israel, Greece, Hungary and Turkey. He has won three professional titles with two in Hungary and one in Turkey. He started his basketball career at Simeon Career Academy where he helped the school win the state title in 2007 while playing with Derrick Rose. He then played two years at John A. Logan College before finishing at UCLA. He spoke to germanhoops.com  after the 75-65 Eurocup win in Ulm.

Lazeric thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Was this your first time in Germany? What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball?

This was my first time in Germany. Ulm is a nice city. I have really enjoyed my stay here. I only heard good things about Germany.

Congrats on the convincing 75-65 win keeping a very offensive team like Ulm under 70 points. The way you have been defending in the early going, does this team have the potential to be a very good defensive team?

I think so. Coach is big on defense. As long as we give the effort I feel like we will always do well against any team we play. Sky is the limit for us this season on the defensive end.

You have played in many countries in Europe in Israel, Greece, Hungary, Turkey and now France. How cool has it been playing for AS Monaco Basket (France-ProA) and living in Monaco?

It has definitely been different. Monaco is such a beautiful place. The organization has been great and given me everything I need to be comfortable. The weather is great and I love the view.

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Dominique Collier (FC Schalke) Is Benefitting From Learning From Courtney Belger

Dominique Collier is a 22 year old 188cm guard from Denver, Colorado that will be starting his professional career in Germany with FC Schalke. He played at Colorado (NCAA,) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 121 NCAA games and as a freshman played 30 games averaging 4.7ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.5apg. In his second season at Colorado (NCAA) he played 34 games averaging 7.5ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 33.9%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 75.7%. In his junior year at Colorado (NCAA) he played 25 games averaging 6.0ppg, 1.1rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 34.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 74.0%. In his senior year at Colorado (NCAA), he played 32 games averaging 7.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 38.2%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 72.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com  about basketball earlier in the summer.

Hi Dom thanks for talking to germanhoops.com  Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

I was in Colorado back and forth from Denver and Boulder working out and getting my stuff prepared to come out here to Germany. And the summer has been good!

Congrats on signing with German Pro A team FC Schalke. How did you experience your first summer pro transfer period? Did you have a good share of offers and was this whole process at times humbling?

Thank you! I had a couple of offers but when talking with my agent we thought this was the best fit because the coach won coach of the year last year in Pro B and they had a returning guard that was really good and saw that as an opportunity to learn from him. And yes the process was a humbling but good experience.

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