Big play unusual moments are welcomed in sports about as much as rich tasty syrup is for your Sunday brunch pancakes as who could forget The Play in 1982 as Stanford was leading California 20-19 with four seconds left and on the last kickoff the Golden Bears took the kick back unleashing several lateral plays and getting unexpected help from the Stanford marching band who thought the game was over winning 25-20, or the classic game between Cibona Zagreb and Serbian team KK Partizan where Cibona nailed a three pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining and celebrating the victory which was squashed as Dusan Kecman heaved a 75 footer finding nothing but net and getting the improbable win or most recently the most criticised New England Patriots defense with no name Patrick Chung blocking two kicks and intercepting a pass for a touchdown as the special team stole the limelight of Tom terrific Brady silencing the Miami Dolphins 41-14, one might dream of having such an ending to add to the drama with the return of ex Skyliner coach Murat Didin with the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf on Sunday. Didin had quite some dramatic games in his four year tenure like the final game 5 loss in Bamberg in 2005, or the nail bitting game 5 win in Leverkusen in 2008 or the buzzer beater in Duesselodrf in 2009 by Quantez Robertson and some might be dreaming of some kind of magic occurring or a Agatha Christie type of ending which would get the Ballsporthalle decibles reaching an alltime high as if a Rihanna, Jay Z and Prince had rocked the arena a day earlier. “My favorite sports ending would probably be my boy Vince Young leading the Texas Longhorns to the NCAA title against USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl. He led the team down the field and scored the winning touchdown and it was really exciting since he scored with about 20 seconds left. They had been the two best teams in college football that year. I am sure due to circumstances that with Didin returning it will be an exciting game”, stressed American Marcus Sloan. Phoenix Hagen American Mark Dorris also has a special favourite sports moment. “My greatest Sports Moment has to be Michael Jordan against the Utah Jazz 1998 the year Michael Jordan would say good bye to the game he loved. It was like a story book ending the heros last bit of energy last shot of his career would be to win the NBA Championship and ride off into the sunset that is the way every body would want to go out. I pray I can have a similar ending one day“, added Phoenix Hagen American Mark Dorris. If the Frankfurt-Duesseldorf ending will be anything spectacular like the sports world has witnessed in the last 30 years is not known, but with Murat Didin anything is possible and he will have his famous tricks up his sleeve once the jumpball happens. “The coach will be motivated to win against his former club and the players will be wanting to win against their old coach”, warned Marcus Sloan.
Six months after being relieved of his duties with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners, Turk Murat Didin will return to Frankfurt as head coach of the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf, but despite the circumstances will not enter the Ballsporthalle with an angry frown, but with the typical cheerful mood. “I will come into the Ballsporthalle with a nice smile and have a kind feeling of the wonderful years that I had here. I will also shake many hands”, said Murat Didin. Didin had four successful and enjoyable years in Frankfurt where he led the team to four playoff appearances, but getting the rap that he was unable to win a title. He was not always the easiest coach as players got first hand how demanding he was, but he had great moments and showed more than once that he was able to mold satisfactory talent into a winning team. Even though the whole atmosphere with Didin was always very laid back with the word Baba coming out of his mouth about as often as Marc Albert screams the word Yes when Kobe Bryant is having a hot night. However when it came time to prepare for games and the actual games, the 55 year old Turk from Istanbul was always all business. Didin will always be remembered as a coach who was always likeable and very open to the fans and press. Didin has only been in Duesseldorf some months, but already feels like as if he has been there for years. The Duesseldorf players already have grown to respect Didin even if the roster has been going up and down like a roller coaster rise. “Didin is a very busy man. He works hard in practice on the sidelines and away from the court trying to make the team better. He has a lot of knowledge of the game and a lot of European experience . He is a good coach and simply a perfectionist”, stressed Duesseldorf guard Patrick Wischnewski. In Frankfurt, Didin was loved by the fans and the only thing missing was his own official fan club and it seems like the Turk isn´t making any enemies in Duesseldorf either. The fact that Didin is handled in Turkey as if he was an ambassador was overwhelming and his coaching habits refreshing. “Didin was welcomed with open arms by the fans. They all like him. I always knew that Didin was a good coach, but I was amazed how well known he was in Turkey. During training camp, he was on TV a lot and it felt like I was walking down the street with Franz Beckenbauer. That is how known he was. His practices are dry, but if you make a mistake, he tries to keep a good atmosphere with jokes. He keeps the team loose in those kind of situations”, commented Patrick Wischnewski.
The Duesseldorf Giants had a season to forget last year. They finished the year in 17th place with a record of 8-26. The team had a more than solid roster, but something was missing. If the team ever formed a healthy chemistry is debatable, but not having power in the zone was something that hindered the team from winning more games. “I thought that Duesseldorf had decent chemistry, but they had no true bigs. They had no inside scoring except for Koko Archibong”, stressed Phoenix Hagen American Quentin Pryor. The team gave up 80 or more points 12 times and had losing streaks of five, six and seven games. Their biggest wins were a 70-69 win against Bonn, 80-78 victory against The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and a clean sweep of the Giessen 46ers. Despite some real old time shoot outs and getting hit with triple digit results, the club was able to manage to hold Giessen and Ludwigsburg to under 50 points.
It was no secret that the club was having financial difficulties already last season, so the continuation of the operations was more than up in the air in the spring of 2010 as another playoffs had been missed. Didin had been dismissed in Frankfurt and the friendly Turk saw some potential with the Duesseldorf Giants and did like comic super hero Superman and saved the day a second time. A year earlier he had brought the BBL sponsor BEKO and now he brought the Giants Duesseldorf sponsor Gloria which is a Turkish hotel chain. The league gave Duesseldorf a wild card and all of a sudden the club was not history anymore, but on its way to a third season.
The budget for the 2010-2011 BEKO BBL season for Duesseldorf was about as limited as the meal money for NBA teams, so Didin had to do his homework and find the most talented and best players for the little money that was available. Didin signed many unknown players and some from the Basketball minor leagues in the States and from the fourth divison of the college ranks. Despite beating top European club Dynamo Moscow, Didin seemed not to be real pleased with his roster. So on October 1st , the day of the first game in Bremerhaven he pulled a risky coup that probably only he could of done as he waived Jibril Hodges, Eddie Ard and Rocky Hampton and brought in Jamaal Tatum, Steven Wright, Jamie Jones, Ransford Brempong, Laimonas Kisielius, and Olumuyiwa Famutimi. It was no surprise that Duesseldorf lost 96-70 in Bremerhaven. “It was a difficult adjustment with the new players, but we are improving each day in practice and are finding together. We are also understanding each other better and better on and off the court”, stressed Patrick Wischnewski. Despite the lack in talent in comparison to the other BEKO BBL teams, the club is confident of their ability. “We have a skilled big man with Ransford Brempong and I think you saw what he could do in Bremerhaven. We have skilled guards and I think good enough players to be successful. All we need now is a win. We have to keep practicing hard and minimize mistakes”, stressed Patrick Wischnewski.”Brempong is a player to watch and Haynes was decent”, warned Bremerhaven guard Jermaine Thomas. Scouting Duesseldorf could be a problem in the next weeks since the team is unpredictable. “It is to early to say what style they will play. They played a lot of 1-1 against us, but I think that was because they had so many new players and didn´t know the plays. An early weakness is their defense. We were able to score many easy baskets inside”, said Jermaine Thomas.
The history between The Deutsche Bank Skyliners and the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf is very short as the new reformed team is starting their third season. Before coming to Duesseldorf, they were in Leverkusen were they were one of top clubs in 70s, 80s and 90s winning 13 BEKO BBL titles and 10 cups. In the 2008-2009 season, Frankfurt swept the season series winning a nail bitter in Duesseldorf 84-80 as Titus Ivory scored 21 points. They won at home 64-58 as Keith Simmons chipped in with 14 points and 13 rebounds and won a third place game in Hamburg in the German cup semi finals 73-69. Last season, who could forget the exciting 70-67 win as Quzantez Robertson won the game on a buzzer beater. Frankfurt lost a heart breaker at home 66-64 despite 28 points and 11 rebounds from Derrick Allen.
The Gloria Giants Duesseldorf are led by 29 year old 203cm forward Ransford Brempong from Canada. He played at Western Carolina from 2000-2005. He has gathered a lot of experience playing in the Dutch league three years out of his four year career. His best season was 2006-2007 where he played for Matrixx Magix Nijmegen (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 38 games: 10.4ppg, Reb-1(11.0rpg), 1.7apg, 1.9spg, Block-1(2.4bpg), FGP: 45.7%, FT: 67.9%, 3Pts: 33.3%. In 2007-2008, he played for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen averaging 7.3ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.4bpg, 2FGP: 47.3%, FT: 68.7%. In 2008-2009, he played for Hanzevast Capitals Groningen (Holland-Eredivisie): 43 games: 10.8ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-3(1.3bpg), FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 70.5%. He didn´t play last season, but any doubts of losing his touch was doused as he had a strong preseason. The club also added De andre Haynes who is a 26 year old 187 cm combo guard from Detroit, Michigan. He is an excellent distributor of the basketball and also is the team’s best on-ball defender .Possesses tremendous quickness and continues to improve as a jump shooter. He played two seasons in Belgium, one in Hungary and last season in Germany for the Paderborn Baskets (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 34 games: 11.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 74.7%.
The team added 26 year old 191 cm combo guard Steven Wright from Dayton, Ohio. He has three years of BEKO BBL experience and is an extremely athletic combo guard with great quickness. Is a explosive leaper, has great ball handling and passing skills. He hurts you with his penetration or a pull up for the mid range jumper, pick and roll, coming off picks for the shot, and when left open he’ll hit the three pointer also. At the same time he is a unselfish player who creates scoring opportunities for others and has very good ability to finish around the basket. He is a great defensive player because of his quickness and athletic abilities and is a great and mature person with good work ethic. He played at Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky in the NCAA. He played for The New Yorker Phantons Braunschweig and Paderborn and last season for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 26 games: 5.5ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 42.0%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 81.6%. Nikita Khartchenkov is a 23 year old 20i cm forward that was born in Leningrad, Russia. Grew up in Russia and Germany Son of Coach and former Russian international Aleksander Khartchenkov. He is a very fast shooter and his shot is not the easiest one as he uses specific technicalities including a fine vertical leap which makes his shot even more difficult to guard, at the same time is very good in the penetration against both smaller and larger opponents. Nikita is an athletic guy with a very athletic body. He played some years with well known Russian team BC Khimki Moscow. He played with The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig in 2007-2008 and with BV Chemnitz 99 in 2008-2009. Last season, he played for Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 34 games: 6.8ppg, 1.1rpg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 75.5%.
Laimonas Kisielius who is a 25 year old 203cm forward that was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. He played NCAA basketball at William & Mary and last season for Liepajas Lauvas (Latvia-LBL, starting five): Baltic League: 18 games: 16.6ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 69.3%; Latvian League: 27 games: 14.1ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 63.0%. Jamaal Tatum is a 26 year old 188cm guard from Jefferson City. He is a scoring point guard with great quickness and the ability to create shots for himself and others. He takes pride in his defense. He seems to be a big steal for Didin as he is a very talented player that spent time in tow NBA training camps with the Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trailblazers. He played at S.Illinois (NCAA) from 2003-2007 and in his senior year played 35 games: 15.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 43.5%, 3Pts: 40.8%, FT: 77.9%. He played two seasons with Idaho Stampede (D-League). Last season, he played for Cholet Basket (France-ProA): French League: 5 games: 5.4ppg, 1.2apg, FGP: 28.6%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 83.3%; EuroCup: 3 games: 3.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0apg, in Feb.’10 moved to BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL): Latvian League: 3 games: 18.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg; Baltic League: 5 games: 10.8ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 53.3%, FT: 66.7%; left in Mar.’10. Another steal could be Olumuyiwa Famutimi who is a 26 year old 197cm guard who has the Nigerian/Canadian citizenship. He played at Arkansas (NCAA). He was at the San Antonio Spurs training camp in 2006, but was waived and played for the Arkansas RimRockers (D-League) from 2005-2007. He played fro Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague) from 2007-2009. Last season, he played in Turkey for Oyak Renault Bursa (Turkey-TBL, starting five): 29 games: 16.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 74.5%.
The Gloria Giants Duesseldorf also signed three BEKO BBL rookies coming from the college ranks with London Warren, Dorian Mcdaniel and Jamie Jones. London Warren is a 22y ear old 183cm guard from Jacksonville Florida. He played at Dayton from 2006-2010 having guard Brian Roberts as a teammate. In his senior year, he played 37 games: 4.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.1apg, 1.2spg. He reached the NIT elite 8 in 2008 and was NIT champion in 2010. Dorian Mcdaniel is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Culver City, California. He is a utility player with good leaping ability. Does not mind doing all the dirty work. Can create mismatch problems for bigger defenders. Will knock down the open three point shot, rebound well, and do whatever is needed in order to get the win. He played at Prairie View A&M (NCAA) from 2006-2010 an din his senior year played 29 games: 8.0ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 39.1%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 55.6%. Jamie Jones is a 22 year old 201cm forward from El Segundo, California that gave the baseball world George Brett. He has very quick feet and knows how to get to the basket and finish. He is a very good one on one player, who really competes hard and plays both sides of the ball at an extremely high level. He played at Portland St. (NCAA) and in his senior year played 32 games: 13.8ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.0apg, 2.3bpg, FGP: 58.3%, FT: 73.9%. He set the all time PSU record for blocked shots in his senior season with 75. Also, he led the Big Sky conference in rebounds, blocked shots and double doubles.
The club also signed three PRO players with Patrick Wischnewski, Eric Vierneisel, and Marin Petric and one PRO B player with Joe Buck. Wischnewski is a 23 year old 191cm German guard who played Regionaliga ball with Hamburg, Bernau and Osnabruck. Last season, he played PRO A with the Cuxhaven BasCats (ProA): 30 games: 6.4ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 76.2%. Eric Vierneisel is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Algonquin, Illinois. He played at California (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In 2009, he played for Taranaki Mountain Airs (New Zealand-NBL): 15 games: 18.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 71.4%. Last season, he played for USC Heidelberg (Germany-ProA, starting five): 29 games: 11.1ppg, 3.6rpg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 76.5%. Marin Petric is a 30 year old 190cm guard that comes to Duesseldorf with a lot of experience. He played for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen, TSK Universa Bamberg and the ART Dusseldorf Magics (Germany-2.Bundesliga) as well as playing in Spain and Switzerland. Last season, he played for USC Freiburg (Germany-ProA): 27 games: 11.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 72.0%. Joe Buck is a 29 year old 201cm forward from Redondo Beach California. He played at Southern California (NCAA) and most of his career in the States in the minor leagues for teams like the Tri City Ballers (IBL), East Kentucky Miners (CBA) and the Wilmington Sea Dawgs (PBL). Last season, he came to Germany to play for SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProB, starting five): 17 games: 17.6ppg, Reb-3(8.6rpg), 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 69.7%.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners enter the game as the favourite and will be extra motivated because even if there are only a few players left that had played for Didin, they will have told the new players enough interesting stories and facts about the ex Frankfurt coach to spur extra energy for this game from the new players. Frankfurt didn´t have an easy last 10 days as they had to play games first without Brad Buckman and Jermaine Bucknor against Besiktas Istanbul at home playing well, but losing the lead in the second half and game and then playing very well in Oldenburg in a game they should of won, but lost in the last two minutes due to little mistakes. It was the first game of Buckman and Bucknor in Oldenburg where they played very well combining for 21 points. Frankfurt then went to Istanbul to try to advance to the next round of the Eurocup qualifying, but their hopes were dashed as they lost 84-76. All in all it was a fine effort considering the team is still finding together with the two new bucks. The team had foul problems in Istanbuhl, but gave up 31 points in the fourth quarter and didn´t hit their three pointers. Frankfurt should be able to register a win on Sunday as they will have a packed Ballsporthalle with some Turks too, but the Skyliner players will be too focused to be blinded by the Turk flags that should be popping around in the arena. “If Frankfurt plays solid defense and is able to run their offense, then they should be able to win”, stressed Jermaine Thomas. “We will have had an extra week to practice and we should be better than in Bremerhaven. The less mistakes that we make the harder it will be for Frankfurt to win”, warned Patrick Wischnewski. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host The Gloria Giants Duesseldorf on Sunday October 10th at 15:00.