After the very satisfying 81-66 victory over Bremerhaven last weekend, Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert might have jumped for joy about the win if his back was 100% like Paris Hilton might when she finds a pair of sunglasses she doesn´t already have, but his good mood most likely was made even more sour than currently singer J-Lo who had to discover on fotos that she had cellulite as the Skyliner skipper had to accept two new crucial injuries to Jimmy Mckinney and Jermaine Bucknor. The basketball tide can turn so quickly as The Deutsche Bank Skyliner now have to face off against 2010 BEKO BBL semi finalist New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig with a sling of injuries that might even get a cringe out of ex Skyliner coach Murat Didin who had to battle injuries the last years as well. Mckinney will miss four to six weeks on account of a torn ligament in his left knee and Canadian national player Jermaine Bucknor will miss 10 days due to a stretched ligament in his left knee. Center Joe Dabbert returned to practice this week and a decision shortly before the game will be made if he can suit up Saturday . Quantez Robertson is still out. Frankfurt now has to regroup and find a way to play successful with less bodies. “The injuries put pressure on guys who weren´t playing as much and extreme added pressure to starters, because they have to increase their production to make up for the loses. I think mentally it can also take a toll on the players, because the players had gotten used to playing with each other and knew where each guy was on the court before the injuries”, stressed Phoenix Hagen forward Quentin Pryor. One guy who could benefit in this period could be captain Pascal Roller who has been shooting colder than if a person were to open a Air France door at 20,000 feet to test the air temperature. Currently Roller is shooting 10% from the field and 11% from the parking lot. For Roller to suddenly get a hot hand would be as if Frankfurt had gotten a very early Christmas present. “Frankfurt now will need guys to step up more than ever for the loses. I am sure Pascal Roller will get going”, warned Quentin Pryor. “Pascal is a great shooter and one of the best in the league. His shooting doesn´t worry me really. It will only worry me if he stops shooting. He knows that he is not playing well, but he is working very hard and being very aggressive. He might of been one of our best players in the Bamberg final series. He might be 34, but he has the physical ability of a 24 year old”, warned Skyliner skipper Gordon Herbert.
Injury or not, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners will still have to deal with basketball old timer Marcus Goree who is 34, but still plays like he is in his prime at 28. In his first five games, Goree has scored in double figures four times including two double doubles. He may not be the quickest power forward any more, but can still show his dangerous scoring and rebounding qualities down low at the BEKO BBL level. “Goree is a very experienced player and knows exactly how the game is played. I think with the numbers that he is putting up that he plays younger than his age is”, stated Quentin Pryor. The main guy to shut down will be Marcus Goree. “The guy to stop is Goree. He is a strong post presence and they use him in many different ways to set up other players as well. He still plays very strong and does not play like he is 34”, expressed Brose Baskets Bamberg American Kyle Hines. “Goree is very strong and just knows how to get great position and score in low post”, said ex Braunschweig guard Steven Wright. The experience of Goree will be bolstered by basketball globe trotter Lamaar Greer. “They give the team added leadership and will keep the team level headed. I think that they will be big for the team having success”, warned Quentin Pryor.
One guy that The Deutsche Bank Skyliners will not have to deal with will be Heiko Schaffartzik. The German National player fled to Turkey and can continue to unleash his three point bombs from the beach of Antalya. Schaffartzik has a knack for hitting the big shot and showed it enough last season. Schaffartzik was an imporant part of the club last season and the question will be if the Phantoms can roam the German basketball arenas and be successful without him? “The loss of Heiko will be big. They have lost another good ball handler and a player that makes the big shot. He was their main outside threat last season”, stressed Quentin Pryor. However, the team does have some other scoring punch and might be able to compensate the loss. “Kevin Hamilton is more than capable of being the main ball handler. Brandon Thomas was their leading scorer last season and should fill the shooting and scoring role”, warned Quentin Pryor. Schaffartzik was a scorer, leader and club house presence that was often seen getting the guys together on the court when things weren´t going well. Braunschweig is a strong and talented team, but will they be as potent as last season without Schaffartzik? “They aren´t as strong as last season. I don´t think that they have the kind of explosive guy that could score like Heiko”, stressed ex Paderborn guard Steven wright.
After the more than satisfactory 2010-2011 BEKO BBL season where The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig reached the semi finals, coach Sebastian Machowski kept a core of important players like Americans Kevin Hamilton, Brandon Thomas, Jason Cain, and captain and Mr everything on the court Nils Mittman. The most important player that was kept was American Marcus Goree who might be 34, but can still have big games on a consistent rate and pour in a double double here and there The team bode farewell to German big man Yassin Idbihi who escaped to more dough on the Spree in Berlin, Americans Nate Fox, Michael Hicks and John Allen. The biggest loss was German National player Heiko Schaffartzik who finally made the jump to a top European club Turk Telekom Antalya after showing his increasing talent for seven years in Germany. The team was strengthened by basketball world traveler Lamaar Greer, American Kyle Visser who returns for a second tour of duty in Braunschweig, experienced American combo guard Tony Skinn and Germans Nick Schneiders and Milan Obradovic.
The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig currently have a 3-2 record, but haven´t won a challenge yet as they beat weaker teams Bayreuth, Duesseldorf and Ulm, but lost to Oldenburg and a nail bitter to 2010 BEKO BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg. Despite the 74-71 Bamberg win, Kyle Hines was impressed by Braunschweig. “They are a very good team. They have very good guards and very skilled and athletic post players and they already play very well together”, commented Hines. A weakness could be not having Schaffartzik, but other than that does the team possess any real weakness? “I don´t think that they have much weakness. Our goal was trying to keep them in the half court”, stressed Kyle Hines. The expectations are very high in Braunschweig and the club wants to reach the Playoffs for a second consecutive year and not relive a drought like from 2003-2010 where the playoffs were a constant no show by the club. “I think that Braunschweig has a good chance to do good things. We have six very good players. I think that if we play we,stick together and stay focused that we will be ok. We all have to be on the same page and get this winning mentality”, warned Braunschweig guard Tony Skinn. “Their biggest strength is going inside and they are big inside with Visser, Cain and Goree”, warned ex Walter Tigers Tuebingen guard Steven Wright.
The team is led by 34 year old 201cm 106 kilo Marcus Goree. He played at West Virginia and since 2001 has been playing for some of the top teams in Europe. He is a typical European league PF, a little undersized to play the four, but very effective in low post game, thanks to strength and good fundamentals; runs very well the court, can defend well and even press on the perimeter; has great instincts for the game, and is also a good rebounder and shot blocker. He played for teams like Macabbi Tel Aviv(2003 cup winner), Benetton Trviso(Italy cup winner 2005 & 2007) or CSKA Moscow where he helped win the Euroleague in 2008. He has played 105 Euroleague games. Last season, he averaged 12.3ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 72.9%. This season, he is averaging 14,4ppg, 7.4rpg and 1,2apg. He returns back to Frankfurt where he started his career in 2001-2002.
A big surprise last season was known scorer Brandon Thomas from San Antonio, Texas who quickly showed that he could continue to score at the next level in the BEKO BBL. He is a 25 year old 198 cm shooting guard/small forward who started last season with MEG Goettingen, but left, because he was supposed to play a position that he was not used to playing. Even though, he only played sparingly at UMASS in his senior year averaging 4,0ppg and 1,1rpg in the 2006-2007 season, he came to Europe in 2007 and exploded in the leagues in Norway and Austria. In Norway, he led the league in scoring with Fog Naestved averaging 24,5ppg, 4,6rpg, 3,2apf, 2,0spg and 1,0bpg. He was the Danish player of the year in 2008 and was MVP of the 2008 Allstar game. In 2008-2009, in Austria, he played for Kraftwerk Wels averaging 20,2ppg, 3,2rpg, 2,5apg. He has a great basketball IQ, can defend anyone and likes to finish around the rim. Last season for Braunschweig, he played 40 games: 10.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 74.6%.Currently he is averaging 13,2ppg, 5,6rpg and 1,4apg. He got a double double in th e74-71 loss to Bamberg. “I do believe my game is progressing and hopefully will continue to get better”, stressed Brandon Thomas.
The team also added some experience which will go hand in hand with Marcus Goree by welcoming Lamaar Greer who is a 34 year old 196cm guard from New Jersey. Already in high school, he was a known player as he grew up in Cape May Court House and played his high school ball at Middle Township. He was the New Jersey High School Player of the Year in 1994 and led Middle Township to two Group II state titles. As a second team Parade All-American, he scored 13 points in the McDonald’s All-Star game and had 16 points and 10 assists in Magic’s Roundball Classic. He played at Florida State from 1994-1998. Since turning professional in 1998, he has played in countries like Italy(3 years with teams like Record Napoli (Italy-A2, Media Broker Messina (Italy-Lega2), and Pompea Napoli (Italy-LegaA)
He also played in Russia for Uniks Kazan and three years for BC Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague) from 2004-2007. In the last three years, he played in Greece, Cyprus, Jordan and Israel. Last season, he played for ASU Sports Club (Jordan-Premier League, starting five), in Dec.’09 moved to Ironi Nahariya (Israel-Premier League): 14 games: 14.9ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 64.5%. He has played 44 Eurocup games in his career. This season, he is averaging 11,8ppg, 1,8rpg and 1,8apg. The team also brought back Kyle Visser who is a 25 year old 211cm center from Grand Rapids, Michigan and played for The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig from 2007-2009. Last season, he played for EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 32 games: 10.7ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT-2(50.0%), FT: 55.7%. He played at Wake Forest from 2003-2007 and was a teammate with NBA top point guard Chris Paul. He is a center who still hasn´t reached his fullest potential and could have his breakthrough year this season. Currently he is averaging 8,2ppg, 5,6rpg and 1,2apg.
The club also brought back 25 year old 208cm forward Jason Cain from Philadelphia who has the most experience in a Phantoms jersey. This is his fourth season in Braunschweig after coming from the University of Virginia. “Jason has played extremely well. He played great in college and now he is in his fourth season in Braunschweig and he always plays hard on each play. He can rebound and play defense and just does his role”, commented Gloria Giants Duesseldorf guard Steven Wright. Last season, he played 40 games: 10.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 62.9%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 72.6%. The team might have landed one of the bigger steals last season landing 25 year old 193 combo guard Kevin Hamilton from New York. He played at Holy Cross with ex Skyliner Keith Simmons from 2002-2006. He played in Poland the last few years and in the summers in Puerto Rico. He played under coach Sebastian Machowski in Poland and was made into a point guard even though he has been a shooting guard most of his career. He scored 17,9ppg in his last season at Holy Cross and last season he led the Polish league in assists. What makes him so dangerous is his scoring and his potential and ability to score are limitless. “In college, I averaged almost 18 points per game. I have been a shooting guard for most of my career. Two seasons ago, I had to play point guard in Poland. I always thought that I was a good passer. I think passing has come naturally to me. I have enjoyed playing point guard”, stressed Kevin Hamilton. The best thing that teams can do is to keep the ball out of Hamiltons hands, but that is about as impossible as doing the same to Lebron James. “We tried to keep the ball out of his hands. We didn´t want him to make plays. He is a true point guard. He is a great passer and makes things happen for them. When he gets going, it is hard to stop the team”, warned ex Braunschweig guard Steven Wright. Last season, Hamilton played 39 games: 10.1ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-3(5.4apg), Steals-2(1.9spg), FGP: 63.7%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 77.6%. He is one of those rare players that has triple double potential.
Braunschweig also brought in Tony Skinn who is a 27 year old 185cm guard from Washington DC that has the Nigerian/American citizenship. He is a combo guard with great leaping ability, who can run an offense at the point or excel at the scoring department. He played at George Mason from 2002-2006 and was a teammate with Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Folarin Campbell. He reached the NCAA Final 4 in 2006. After finishing at George Mason, he took part in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 10.0ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.7apg, 1.3spg, 0.3bpg, 2FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 37.5%. He played his first three seasons in France and last season for Pistoia (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 34 games: 15.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.6apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 67.0%. For Clermontois Basket Auvergne (France-ProA) and BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA), he averaged 16ppg. Opponents will have to get used to his leaping ability. “I am usually the smallest on the court. I can do a bit of everything. I can play defense and shot. I think that my athletcism gets overlooked. I can jump. Its seems like that isn´t noticed, but check my videos at you tube as you can see I can jump”, stressed Tony Skinn. Currently he is averaging 5,4ppg, 3,2rpg and 1,6apg. 30 year old 201cm German Nils Mittman is playing his sixth season in Braunschweig after having played there from 1998-2001. He is the ultimate team player that will do anything to win. He played two years in Ulm, two years in Wurzburg and three seasons in Ludwigsburg. Currently, he is averaging 1,8ppg and 1,8rpg.
The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig also added 26 year old 221cm German giant Nick Schneiders that was born in Bielefeld and grew up in Rietberg. he has experience having played in the States for S.Carol.Upstate (NCAA2) from 2005-2008 and then transferring to USC Upstate (NCAA) and playing there from 2008-2010. In his senior year, he played 29 games: 12.4ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.0bpg, FGP: 46.3%, FT: 57.6%. Currently he is averaging 1,7ppg and 1,7rpg. The team also signed Milan Obradovic who is a 20 year old 186cm guard that was born in Recklinghausen. He played for Bayer Leverkusen II (Regionalliga) in 2006-2007 and in 2007-2008 for Oldenburger TB (Regionalliga): 6 games: 4.8ppg. In 2008-2009, he played for Koeln 99ers (1.Bundesliga) junior team. In 2009-2010, he played for ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen (ProA): 20 games: 2.3ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.4apg.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have very very fond memories of The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig as they have won the last nine games. The last loss was on March 11th, 2006 as Braunschweig won 81-76. The two most memorable games were from the 2008-2009 season. Who could forget the 68-58 win in the cup game which brought Frankfurt to the TOP 4 in Hamburg. That game displayed the best performance by guard Adam Emmenecker who came out of his shell and proved he has no nervous shooting hand as he left captain Pascal Roller on the bench as he had the hot hand leading the team with 13 points. However in the regular season game in Braunschweig, Roller got his revenge as he led the team to a 55-53 win as his last minute clutch jumper paved the way to the win. Last season, Frankfurt swept the series winning 81-77 as Frankfurt came from behind to win as Aubrey Reese poured in 21 points and prevailed at home 71-62 as Derrick Allen steered 18 points to the triumph.
The Injury rattled Deutsche Bank Skyliners play the Heiko Schaffartzik less New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig on Saturday. Frankfurt has a record of 2-2 and have played four solid games and played extremly well in Oldenburg and Bamberg that were games that could have been won. The team showed their best performance of the season against the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven showing that team basketball can look as pretty as if the Mona Lisa was holding a basketball. Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert will create a strong game plan against The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and find a way to compensate the losses of Mckinney and Bucknor. AJ Moye was a scoring monster against Bremerhaven and Dominik Bahiense De Mello quietly keeps showing that he can make the most of his minutes. Point guard Dashaun Wood continues to prove that his short term contract should soon be extended. He scored 19 points against the Eisbaeren and left them running in circles with his kick and drive. “I think that Wood will be able to handle the pressure. He is having a solid season and has shown that he is one of quickest guards even though he has some competition from guys like Nick wise, Brian Roberts and Mark Dorris”, stated Quentin Pryor.
The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig average 71 points and 37 rebounds per game and Frankfurt will have to keep them out of their living room. “It will come down to how Frankfurt defends the low post. Braunschweig will have edge on blocks. I am sure Braunschweig will try to pound it down low”, warned Quentin Pryor. Marcus Goree and running is something that Frankfurt can´t allow Braunschweig to get going. “Frankfurt has to limit the touches of Goree and don´t give him a lot of space to make moves and set up his teammates. They should also keep them in the half court and slow down the game”, stressed Kyle Hines. Frankfurt has two less weapons without Mckinney and Bucknor, but still many other weapons. “Frankfurt should run a good offense and take good shots. They are really strong at spreading the floor and it is difficult to guard them. Every guy can shoot it from long range”, warned Kyle Hines. It would be essential that Brad Buckman and Marius Nolte get involved quickly. “Frankfurt has to use their quickness and get their bigs involved in the pick and roll to get them away from the basket or in foul trouble”, said Quentin Pryor. Frankfurt did a good job getting the ball up quickly after stops against Bremerhaven and should continue to do so against Braunschweig. “Frankfurt should attack on transition. Braunschweig isn´t as good defensively as last season. They should also use the ball screen a lot and continue the drive and kick with Wood. He is very talented and knows the game”, stressed Steven Wright. Braunschweig is a good team and it doesn´t really matter who we play, because we have to be on the same page on offense and defense. We are focusing more on us than on the opponent”, stressed Gordon Herbert. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig on October 23rd at 20:00.