This season The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have received a human like road runner in Dashaun Wood who has displayed game after game that he can get into the zone quicker than Jerry Magiure could say “Show me the money”, George Clooney can flash his million dollar smile or wink at a beautiful women sneaking a peak into his yard on the Coma lake in Italy or world class sprinter following the Skyliner into the zone with two cinder blocks attached to his back as Frankfurt hope that the flashy guard can continue to show his magic sprints into the Artland Dragons zone on Saturday and lead his team to victory on October 30th. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had point guard Aubrey Reese who found holes in the zone and often finished with a difficult fade away jumper or off balance lay up. With Dashaun Wood, Frankfurt has a no hesitation point guard that will dash to the basket as if there were a million bucks waiting on the rim and he had to get there as quick as possible as there was a cheetah chasing him on his tail. “I am sure that Wood can out run the dragon flame, because he has even more extra strength now that he got that contract extension. I saw Wood play on TV and it seems like he has that extra gear like a Lamborghini”, joked Phoenix Hagen American Quentin Pryor. “I think if Wood can run even faster than he can now, then he should be able to be faster than the flame of the dragon”, joked Chemnitz guard Achmadschah Zazai. Wood might not win a 100 yard dash against Usain Bolt, but could compete with the quickest BEKO BBL players this season. “If Wood would run against Mark ´Dorris, it would be a tough race. I would have to take Dorris right now only because I haven´t seen Wood in person yet, Said Quentin Pryor. For a player to pick another player over himself in any kind of sporting match is about as unlikely as former president Bill Clinton not having a wandering eye on a busy street for at least a day. “I would say I would win and he would say himself”, joked Mark Dorris. “I would make a 100 yard dash interesting with Wood by giving him a head start and then coming and rolling forward ove rthe line”, joked ex Artland Dragon Achmadschah Zazai.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners are looking to win their fourth game of the season and their first on the road. They are unbeaten at home, but really could be 5-0 at the moment after losing nail bitters on the road in Oldenburg and Bamberg. The team has had injury problems this season as so often this season, but that is a part of the game. Jimmy Mckinney will miss about three weeks, but Frankfurt is fortunate to have energy spark plug Quantez Robertson back and quickly showed in his first game back that being a rebound giant for his size is nothing unspectacular as he grabbed 8 rebounds and also chipped in with eight points. American big man Joe Dabbert made his debut in the BEKO BBL scoring 10 points and giving stability on defense with two blocks and one steal. The team could use more rebounding from the big man, but it was to be expected that he would be missing some crispness on the court, but for his first game, he was very solid. The team also has various players with short term contracts still awaiting the verdict from the club if they will be resigned. Dashaun Wood was resigned until the end of the season as that was no surprise. Wood is averaging 12.2ppg, 4,6rpg and 3,6apg and seems to be increasing his play from game to game. He is so dangerous with his quickness and penetration into the zone and kick outs that opponents keep getting more and more problems containing the American. If Wood keeps up his stellar play, he could emerge as the top BEKO BBL playmaker before Christmas. The team also resigned Mckinney, but first until the end of December. Mckinney has been playing super basketball ever since the club replaced Murat Didin with Gordon herbert. Currently Mckinney is averaging 12,0ppg, 3,5rpg and 1,8apg and is shooting 43% from the field and 40% from outside. Mckinney is playing like he was in his rookie season. The team gave the American another short term contract just to be sure that he recovers from his injury. “We hope that Jimmy will play the way he did before his injury when he returns”, stressed Skyliner sports director Kamil Novak.
The team also have Jermaine Bucknor, Joe Dabbert, and Brad Buckman with short term contracts and decisions about their future will be made soon. Coach Gordon Herbert will expect nothing but the best from these three players in the Artland arena. “They should have a lot of motivation especially with their jobs on the line. If they use their motivation the right way, then it should be a tough game for the Artland Dragons”, warned Quentin Pryor. “I think that this will be a great opportunity for the short term contract players to show their ability because Artland is a great team”, warned Bamberg American Kyle Hines. Frankfurt also should expect a very motivated Pascal Roller who finally snapped out of his shooting slump against The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig scoring 13 points(4/6 from the field) and dishing out five assists. His shooting percentages are still as cold as Siberia with 24% from the field and 30% from outside, but his self confidence has risen again. “Roller has his shot back. He hit some big shots against Braunschweig”, said Quentin Pryor.
The club made a big surprise getting active on the transfer market signing 27 year old 198 cm forward Roger Powell, but only until the middle of January with an option until the end of the season. He is a warrior who can play multiple positions at the high pro level. He is blessed with NBA physicality and is an outstanding man and team defender. He is an ordained minister, Powell is an explosive athlete on the floor and a dynamic man away from the game. Powell had an illustrious college basketball career at Illinois from 2001-2005 reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 twice and final in 2005 losing to North Carolina. At Illinois, he played with NBA players Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head. He played three games for the Utah Jazz in the 2006-2007 season and played in the D-League and CBA. In Europe, he has expereince playing in Italy, Spain and France. Last season, he played for C.B. Murcia (Spain-ACB), Spanish League: 15 games: 8.3ppg, 3.4rpg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 71.9%; in Feb.’10 moved to JDA Dijon Bourgogne (France-ProA, starting five): 2 games: 14.0ppg, 4.0rpg, injured the same month. “Powell is a good pick up for Frankfurt. He will give team more strength under the basket. He can score under the basket or shoot the three, can rebound and is a good defender. I remember him playing at Illinois. He was the glue for that team. He did all the little things”, stressed Quentin Pryor.
After winning their first BEKO BBL title with the cup in 2008 against EnBW Luwdigsburg in Hamburg in 2008, it seemed like the Artland Dragons were on a positive way with possible future hardware, but instead the club might secretly have been dreaming of the glory day in Hamburg where Darius Hall was in the middle of a swarm of Artland fans celebrating the win, because ever since that big title, the team has been looking for another success and missed the playoffs two seasons in a row. The Artland Dragons have been about as unlucky not reaching the playoffs the two seasons as a Formula one driver is racing the race of their life and then dropping out because the engine dies in the last lap as German Sebastian Vettel recently had to accept or poor cute lovable polar bear Knut who is being shunned by three female bears including his mother who can´t remember he is her kid. In 2009, they had to win the last game and did crushing Frankfurt 90-69, but not reaching the playoffs because Paderborn won on the last day against BG Goettingen and last season they made a last comeback winning the last four games, but losing their last game 82-80 to the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven a game they had to win missing the playoffs again. “I think that last season, Artland was lacking a guard who could control the team until the end. Ross was more of a scoring guard and Price could of done job, but he came to late in season to turn it around. The chemistry was lacking too and it seemed like players had their own agenda”, stressed Quentin Pryor.
The Artland Dragons can´t afford to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season and wont. The club dismissed young German coach Thorsten Leibenath and brought in experienced German coach Stefan Koch. Koch led the Opel Skyliners to the BEKO BBL cup in 2000 and led the Giessen 46ers to the semi finals in 2005 losing to Bamberg. Koch hasn´t coached for some years, but has strong ties to basketball and seems like he is very hungry to bring some success back to the Artland. “I dont think that Koch is necessarily a better coach than Leibenath. I think that this years team has just as good players as last year. It just depends how quickly the team finds each other. However Koch will definitely help the team. He has a lot of experience and knows the league very well. I am sure the team will be better. With Koch on board, I think that they will reach the playoffs. They missed the playoffs the last two years and they have high expectations this season and a lot of ambition to be successful”, added Achmadschah Zazai.
In order for The Artland Dragons to be on a good route to the promised land, the club decided to keep a core of four players with Alexander Seggelke, Darren Fenn, Nathan Peavy and Florian Hartenstein. The club said farewell to point guards Ronald Ross, Hollis Price, former NBA player Toby Bailey, fan favorite Darius hall, Charles Lee, Chad Prewitt, Hendrik Feist and Flavio Stuckemann. The team added nine new players with six having BEKO BBL experience. The club has a very solid guard rotation with Tyrese Rice, Bryan Bailey, Domonic Jones and Johannes Strasser. The team has very strong forwards with Adam Hess, Nathan Peavy and Alexander Seggelke. The team might have the best front court in the BEKO BBL this season with ex NBA player Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, Darren Fenn and Ekenechukwu Ibekwe. “The Dragons have some real big guys down low”, warned Skyliner AJ Moye. Currently the Artland Dragons are in 4th place with a record of 4-2. They have gone a similar kind of route like the Skyliners winning against beatable teams and losing against the stronger teams. They did show a very decent performance losing a narrow game in Bamberg 60-58. “I think that Artland can play a big role this year. They are strong at all positions. If a guy is injured, then they have guys who can step up. they are very experienced as well. They have very good individual players. Fenn/Boumtje have a lot of experience having won titles, good guards with Rice who is fast, Bailey is a great defender and Jones one of most athletic in BEKO BBL. Hess can score from all over and make that deciding shot. I am not sure if they have a weakness, but as soon as Peavy returns, they will be stronger”, warned Achmadschah Zazai. “Their strength is their speed and ability to score at a high pace. If you allow them to play this then they can score 80 points plus. A hidden strength is that they are a very confident team and feel and play as if they were the best team in the league”, warned Kyle Hines. It seems like Artland has a better defensive team than last season and Dashaun Wood will have his hands full inside. “Artland is a pretty good defensive team. They have two very good shot blockers with Boumtje Boumtje and Ibekwe which makes it tough to score in the lane. On defense the Artland guards can gamble more for steals when you have shot blockers protecting you”, stressed Quentin Pryor.
The Artland Dragons are led by 30 year old center Darren Fenn who is a 208 cm center from Tonawanda New York who is averaging 14,2ppg, 5,5rpg and 2,5apg and is playing his sixth season in Germany after having also played in Bremerhaven and Bamberg. “He is also very versatile. He can score from outside, but also can post up and he is very strong”, stressed Jannik Fresse. Fenn was one of the most dominating players in the German BEKO BBL over the last five seasons. He was the 7th most efficient player in German BBL for the 2009/10 season. He finished the 2008/09 EUROCUP season as the 6th best scorer with 15,8 ppg. He is an unstoppable inside player with a lot of skills and post up moves and is a high percentage 3-pt. shooter with range. His two seasons playing in Bamberg under Coach Bauermann, he improved his defensive and rebounding skills. He is a all-rounder who can post up, hit the jump hook, take the midrange jump shot, fill the lane on the fast break, score on a put back after the offensive rebound, or hit the 3-point shot. He can defend both inside positions, plays always with great intensity and has great quickness for his size and a strong lower body. The team brought back 30 year old 185 combo guard Bryan Bailey who comes from new York and played in Quackenbruck from 2004-2007. Currently he is averaging 11.3ppg, 3.5rpg and 2,5apg. He is a team leader both on and off the court. He Possesses a diverse game, with an ability to stroke the long-range jumper, penetrate to the rim or distribute the ball and is solid on the defensive end of the floor as well. He is a fierce competitive drive rubs off on his teammates. Bailey played at Bucknell and has gained experience having played in Holland and Poland. he reached the playoffs three times with Artland form 2004-2007 and the cup final in 2007.
Tyrese Rice is a 23 year old 185cm point guard that is playing his season in the BEKO BBL. He hails from Chesterfield, Virginia and played at Boston College from 2005-2009. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 16.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 5.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3Pts: 34.7%, FT: 85.6%. As a rookie last season, he played for Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1, starting five): 27 games: 11.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 81.4%. This past summer, he played Summer League in Orlando (Utah Jazz) and in Las Vegas (Sacramento Kings). Currently he is averaging 10,6ppg, 2,0rpg and 3,5apg. He still needs to find his stroke from the parking lot as he is shooting only 20%. The team got a huge pick up for the boards with Ruben Boumtje Boumtje. The 32 year old 212 cm center who ranks fourth all-time in Georgetown history in blocks with 255 behind Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo grew more into a scoring threat in Oldenburg and perhaps can give some added scoring stability for coach Stefan Koch. Even though he played 35 NBA games, his playing qualities often determined if he had the right coach. Last season for Oldenburg he played Euroleague: 10 games: 4.6ppg, 3.7rpg; German League: 37 games: 6.9ppg, 5.8rpg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP: 58.9%, FT: 76.6%. he will bolster the Dragons with his rebounding and shot blocking, but most important with his experience.
The team also got back Adam Hess as he starts his third tour of duty for the Artland Dragons. The trend the last years has always shown that Hess can´t stay away for more than two years as He played the first time with the Dragons in 2006 and the second time in 2008. Hess is a 29 year old 201cm forward from Michigan. He is a quick forward with not so great athletic skills, but very effective at the scoring department. He’s a tough player, however, and knows how to battle inside for a rebound and he defends well and has a great attitude. He played at William & Mary and also has gained experience playing in Italy, Czech Republic, France and Spain. Last season, he played for C.B. Tarragona 2016 (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 34 games: 14.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 45.4%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 88.1%. He had much success in the Czech Republic winning the league title in 2005 and 2006 and showing his shooting ability winning the 2005 Allstar game three point shooting contest. Currently Hess is averaging 8,0ppg and 3,7rpg. he is shooting 46% from the field and 42,1%from the parking lot. The team also added Nigerian Ekenechukwu Ibekwe who is a 25 year old 206 cm forward. He is a long lean dynamic post player with unlimited athletic potential. He is a talented shooter for his size and can post up and take the ball to the hole. He is a high flying finisher and shot blocker. He played at Maryland from 2003-2007. In the last three years, he has gained experience playing in Israel, Puerto Rico and Turkey. Last season, he played for Kepez Bld Antalya (Turkey-TBL), in Dec.’09 moved to Petrochimi Imam Harbour (Iran-Superleague), left later that month, in Jan.’10 signed at Genc Banvitliler (Turkey-TB2L, starting five): 10 games: 21.2ppg, 10.6rpg, 1.2apg, 2.2spg, 2.1bpg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 59.2%. In 2006, he played at the World Championships in Japan playing 6 games: 8.7ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 50.0%, FT: 33.3%. This season, he is averaging 7,7ppg, and 5,8rpg. He has been the team most energetic defender averaging 1,8spg and 1,7bpg.
30 year old 198 cm forward Alexander Seggelke is a 198cm forward who is playing his 13th season in Germany.Currently he is averaging 7,5ppg, and 3,orpg. He played previously with The Bayer Giants Leverkusen and Science City Jena and is an all rounder with great scoring-skills, shows no fear, can point in the paint and from outside as well, and is a very good FT-shooter. He is playing his second season with the Artland Dragons and last season played EuroChallenge: 11 games: 4.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.4apg; German League: 33 games: 7.5ppg, 2.2rpg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT-1(56.9%), FT: 83.1%. 28 year old 190cm combo guard Johannes Strasser is playing his first season with The Artland Dragons. He is a very strong point guard that can hit the open three pointer at any time, penetrate and finish or find the open guy and is a pest on defense. He started his basketball career at Rhondorf in 1999. He had a very successful time with Rhein Energy Colone from 2001-2007 winning the 2006 BBL league title and three cup titles in 2004,2005 and 2007. He played with the Telekom Baskets Bonn from 2007-2010 reaching the BEKO BBL title twice. His job is to come from the bench and help out at the point or hurt opponents with his deadly three pointer. Currently, he is averaging5,5ppg, 1,5rpg and 1,0apg. He has very solid shooting percentages of 42,3% from the field and 40,0% from long range.
The team also added experience at the guard position with Dominic Jones. Jones is a 29 year old 186cm combo guard from Richmond, Virginia. He is playing his first season with The Artland Dragons and his seventh season in Germany after playing three years with BG Karlsruhe, one season with The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and the last two seasons with EnBW Ludwigsburg.He has the ability to create opportunities for his teammates or score on his own and also possesses excellent strength for a player of his size. He is an outstanding offensive playmaker, with strong leadership, exceptional quickness and long arms allowing him to play bigger than his size and to be effective even in the rebounding. Last season with EnBW Ludwigsburg, he played 32 games: 8.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 64.8%. Currently he is averaging 3,3ppg, 2,5rpg and 2,0apg. . Florian Hartenstein is a 33 year old 206cm center that was born in Mainz, Germany and played at the University of Oregon before turning professional and playing at Giessen from 2001-2009 playing 227 games. He is starting his 10th professional season in Germany and second with the Artland Dragons. He is a competitor and tough defender and an important player for the team not only on the court but also off the court keeping the team together. He runs the floor very well and likes contact underneath the basket and has a unique shooting technique. Last season he played EuroChallenge: 10 games: 0.7ppg; German League: 15 games: 1.1ppg. “My man Flo is a good defender, is tough and is an important part of the team”, stressed ex teammate Jannik Freese. The team also have Germans Leo Niehbur and Andrej Mangold who see very little action. American Nathan Peavy is a 24 year old 201 cm forward who played 34 games: 11.2ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 44.7%, FT: 66.9%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 10.6ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT-2(66.7%), FT: 72.5%. He is still injured and a player that the club misses very much. “He can move very well and is very athletic. He is very versatile and can hurt a team inside and out”, stated Giessen center Jannik Freese. He played at the University of Miami at Ohio and is also a very technical player that will always
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had unfond memories to playing The Artland Dragons having a 4-7 record since 2005 and during 2005-2007 losing all four games including being outscored in the Artland arena 172-129. However, the tide turned for the better from 2007-2009 as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had a 3-1 record. Three years ago, they celebrated a very big emotional win 87-75 winning in overtime as captain Pascal Roller sparked Frankfurt to the win with 26 points. two seasons ago on the last day, Frankfurt lacked spirit and were beaten in every phase of the game losing 90-69. Last season, the team lost a thriller 77-76 in Artland as Frankfurt staged one of their famous comebacks despite a late Pascal Roller three pointer, it was enough as they lost. Frankfurt was able to win at home 77-65 as Pascal Roller scored 20 points. However Frankfurt is 1-4 in Quackenbruck since 2005.
Both teams are looking for that first real win and one of the teams will get in on Saturday. An interesting match up will be Rice against Wood. “That will be a tough match up. Both are fast quick paced guys with a lot of offensive abilities”, stressed Kyle Hines. Artland seem to be at a disadvantage on offense and Frankfurt will need to defend well, but they have not had an off night yet on defense this season. “Frankfurt really doesn´t need to worry so much about offense. If they can defend hard and force Artland to bad decisions then the offense will come from its self. Frankfurt has to keep the intensity high for 40 minutes”, warned Achmadschah Zazai. The play under the boards will be one of key factors to winning the game. “Frankfurt has to make the bigs make a decision on the pick and roll. I am sure that Wood will hurt Artland with his quickness. Roller will make the difference with his shooting again. Artland will have to know at all times where he is on the floor. Frankfurt can´t allow any open looks on defense and take them out of their comfort zone. Hess is dangerous. he can shoot, rebound and post up and is their x factor. Frankfurt does lack size under the basket, but they can space Artland at the other end”, warned Quentin Pryor. Bamberg recently played Artland and there may be a weakness for Frankfurt to pursue. “Artland has an up tempo offense. Their weakness is their half court game. If you make them play that then they will have problems. Frankfurt should also keep them from continuously moving the ball and containing their transition opportunities”, stressed Kyle Hines. The Artland Dragons host The Deutsche Bank Skyliners on October 30th at 20:00.