The Deutsche Bank Skyliners are currently on a five game winning streak and are as hot as one of the worlds top point guards Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics who is averaging 11,1ppg, 14,8apg, 5,5rpg and 3,1spg, Justin Bieber who now at age 16 might be sweeter than Nestle chocolate for most teenage girls and German soccer club Borussia Dortmund who are in position one and carefully and secretly grinning at the current woes of Bayern Munich who seem to be dwelling in some lost barren desert than on the soccer field. Frankfurt wants to win their sixth game in the row and stay unbeaten in the Ballsporthalle this season with getting their fifth win in a row against EnBW Ludwigsburg on Wednesday November 10th. Basketball matters on the court are going so smoothly for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners at the moment that one could think that they have received the extraordinary winning mentality of their sporting neighbors Eintracht Frankfurt who are playing as if they are in their own fairy tale at the moment as they rest in position four with a record of 6-4 in the German Bundesliga. Perhaps they will get some extra luck on Wednesday as some members of Eintracht Frankfurt including Patrick Ochs, Sebastian Jung, Alexander Meier and Marcus Steinhoefer will be in attendance rooting the basketball players to victory. With the inspiring play and success of The Deutsche Bank Skyliners, one could almost dedicate the famous Starship track “Nothing is gonna stop us now” to their current season, because they are playing as if they are on a mission to doing everything right on the court except losing. Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert is a coach who knows how to keep his team from getting the we are too good for anyone syndrome. “The most difficult thing for a team like Frankfurt now is to stay focused and stay hungry, but I am sure they can. You have to toot your own horn in this game, but not go over board. Of course, if you are playing on a team that is blowing everyone away, you could get the feeling that nothing is gonna stop us, but you just have to keep giving your best and not think about the games in the past, but the next game”, stressed Phoenix Hagen American Quentin Pryor. One should never get ahead of yourself especially when everyone thing is working, but players are taking notice about where Frankfurt could be in the near future if they keep playing this well. “Frankfurt needs to stay humble and keep playing defense the way they have. They have a very good team. I think that Frankfurt can step it up to the next level of Bamberg and Berlin. They have great players with Moye, Wood and Powell and play hard. I believe that they can compete with the highest teams in the BEKO BBL this season”, warned Gloria Giants Duesseldorf guard Steven Wright.
Who could forget the 2006-2007 EnBW Ludwigsburg Cinderella team that started the season on a seven game winning streak, winning the first 11 of 12 games and dominating the BBL the whole season until losing in the semi finals against The Brose Baskets Bamberg who would later win the BBL title. There was something so fresh with this team as team basketball had been taught by coach Silvano Propat and his players had learned it as quickly as first graders do their a,b,c´s. However the last two seasons were a downgrade as the playoffs were missed. In the 2007-2008 season, the team reached the BBL cup final losing to The Artland Dragons, but management somehow had their differences with coach Silvano Poropat as he had to pack his bags and go. In 2008-2009, management brought in ex Bamberg player Rick Stafford as the team missed the playoffs again and were searching for an identity all season long, but never found one. After December 14th, 2008, the team would not win more than one game at a time before losing again. It was a very disappointing and weird season as the biggest highlights were the three B wins against Berlin, Bonn and Bamberg, and then the strange 1-0 win as The Giessen 46ers were unable to get to Ludwigsburg on time as they were stuck in traffic. It also marked the last professional season of all rounder and likeable American Brandon Woudstra who decided to hang up his sneakers and return back to the States to start a new life with his family. The 2009-2010 season marked a rebirth as a new arena was introduced, a new coach with Tolga Ongoren and many new Americans that would hopefully lead the club back to the playoffs. Many fans had to get used to watching basketball in a new state of the art arena as the club said goodbye to the old, but comfy Rundsporthalle that had been alive for 37 years. The goal last season could only be the playoffs as the club has a lot of pressure from their sponsor to perform in the new arena, but this important goal was missed as the team missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season finishing the season in 11th place with a record 17-17. In the last three seasons, the club had a dismal record of 48-54. The club started well last season winning seven of their first nine games including a six game winning streak, but then lost nine of 11 games. The team had the problem of being consistent and was unable to beat the big teams. Their two biggest wins of the season was against Oldenburg and BG Goettingen. The team was strong on paper, with players like Kyle Bailey, Michael King, Quadre Lollis, Kyle Visser, Michael Haynes, Domonic Jones and Richard Chaney, but coach Tolga Ongoren was unable to produce a chemistry on the court and something else was missing as well. “It seemed that winning wasn´t as important to some guys as their selves. They definitely were talented enough for the playoffs, but they lost some games that they should of won”, stressed ex Paderborn Basket Steven Wright.
This season, EnBW Ludwigsburg made a complete facelift keeping only German talent David Mccray and other young German players and getting many new players as well as a new coach with German Markus Jochum who is a legend in Ludwigsburg having played there from 1987-1996 and playing 62 games for the German national team. He is making the big step into the Beko BBL after having coached USC Heidelberg and the woman´s team KuSG Leimen from 2007-2010. The question is how well can he adjust to the top German basketball league coming from the German womans DBBL league. Last season, Olaf Stolz Was unable to produce a winner in Paderborn after having coached the German ladies. The club brought in experienced players like Toby Bailey, John Bowler, and Rick Rickert. The team also added young talented players Alex Harris and Johannes Lischka. The team also brought back Jerry Green who could step in for the famous singer Lionel Richie in a photo shooting, if the ex Commodores singer was sick. It has been made public, but it seems like Green is sort of a saviour type player this season after leading the team into the playoffs in 2007 áveraging 16,1ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-3(4.7apg), 1.5spg. However so far this season, Green is struggling averaging 6,0ppg, 2,8rpg and 3,3apg in 32 minutes per game. But does less scoring from Green mean really less input form the American? “There is nothing wrong with green. He is playing a different role than four years ago. He is still a dangerous players and his success shouldn´t be determined from what he did four years ago. He is a great leader and can hurt you in many ways”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. “Green doesn´t really need to score so much with the team that they have. Ludwigsburg have enough threats in the post and shooters on the wing. His job is just to set them up”, warned Quentin Pryor.
This season EnBW Ludwigsburg is off to a slow start as they rest in 15th place with a record of 2-5. The new arena hasn´t brought the team any luck so far this season as the team is 1-3 while on the road, the team is 1-2. Despite the poor start, it is simply to early to have any panic yet in Ludwigsburg. “Ludwigsburg is a very experienced team. They are tough to handle down low, because they are so big. The team seems to be having tough luck right now”, stressed Quentin Pryor. It is only November and many teams are having growing teams at the moment. “Ludwigsburg is a very good team and are finding each other as are many other teams in the league at the moment. They have great players and will continue to improve. Their strength is the guards and Harris, Green and Bowler play a great role. They have a good inside out game and have depth at the guard position. It is just a matter of time before they start winning”, said John Bynum. The club has been playing a lot with a eight man rotation and could be a problem if injuries arise. “Their weakness is that they lack some depth from the bench”, expressed Quentin Pryor. Jerry Green might be a key player for the team, but s is Harris, Bowler and Rickert. “Alex Harris is their X-factor being their leading scorer and main threat from the perimeter. Bowler and Rickert are a tough tandem to handle because they are so big. You have to crowd Bowler and make him put the ball on the floor. You have to fight Rickert for position and can´t let him catch the ball close to the basket, because then you will be in trouble”, stated Quentin Pryor.
EnBW Ludwigsburg is led by Alex Harris who is a 24 year old 196cm guard from Mission Viejo, California that is playing his first season in Luwdigsburg. He grew up in Alameda, California and played at the University of California/Santa Barbara from 2004-2008 and in his senior year, he played games: 20.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.0%, 3Pts: 42.3%, FT: 81.2%. After college, he played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 8.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 34.5%, 3PT: 11.1%, FT: 66.7%. In 2008-2009, he turned professional and played in Poland the last two seasons. In 2008-2009, he played for Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-DBE, starting five): Eurocup: 6 games: 6.8ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0apg; Polish League: 34 games: 7.3ppg, 2.1rpg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 82.7%. Last season, he played for Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK, starting five): 30 games: 9.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 38.2%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 81.5%. He played in the Polish Allstar game 2010. Currently, he is leading the team in scoring with 15,2ppg, 2,8rpg and 1,3apg. John Bowler is a 26 year old 206cm forward/center from Chicago, Illinois that is playing his first season with EnBW Luwigsburg. He is the ultimate team player who really understands the game of basketball and does not back down from anybody.He is a big competitor who does everything needed to win.
He played at Eastern Michigan from 2002-2006. In his senior year, he played 28 games: 20.1ppg, 10.8rpg, 2.5apg, FG: 54.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 72.3%. He finished being the 11th best scorer in Eastern Michigan history getting 1427 points and fifth best rebounder with 801 rebounds. he recorded 32 double doubles in his college career. He started his professional basketball career for The Telekom Baskets Bonn in 2006 and played there until 2010. In his four seasons with the Telekom Baskets, he made it to the German BBL Finals twice and qualified every season for the play-offs… named Most Likeable Player in German BBL in 2008. His best season was 2007-2008 as he played 39 games: 12.1ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 70.5%. Last season, he played 27 games: 7.7ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 79.4%. This season, he is averaging 10,0ppg and 4,2rpg.
Rick Rickert is a 27 year old 211cm forward/center from Duluth, Minnesota that is playing his first season with EnBW Ludwigsburg. He can play with his back to the basket, step out and shoot the three pointer or drive to the hole. He played at Minnesota(NCAA) from 2001-2003. In his senior year, he played 30 games: 15.6ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 68.2%. In 2003, he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA in the second round at #56. As a rookie, he played for Krka Novo Mesto (Slovenia-1A): Euroleague: 14 games: 11.2ppg, 5.2rpg; Adriatic League; Slovenian League: 26 games: 11.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 0.5apg: 3 games: 8.3ppg, 5.7rpg. In 2004-2005, he started the season with the Timberwolves (NBA): released at the end of Oct.’04, before the season started, next month signed at Asheville Altitude (NBDL): 12 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 46.4%, in Jan.’05 agreed terms with Panellinios Athens (Greece-A1): 13 games: 7.1ppg, 3.9rpg, 2FGP: 55.0%. In 2005-2006, he played for Pujol Lleida (Spain-LEB), Spanish League: 8 games: 9.8ppg, 5.3rpg, 2FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 0.0%, FT: 56.3%; released in Nov.’05, in Jan.’06 joined Fayetteville Patriots (D-League): 26 games: 9.2ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 46%, FT: 61.5%. In 2006-2007, he played forthe 14ers (D-League): 50 games: 10.8ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 25%, FT: 86.4%. The last three seasons, he played in New Zealand for the New Zealand Breakers (Australia-NBL). Last season for the Breakers playing games: 11.6ppg, Reb-1(7.1rpg), 1.7apg, FGP: 53.4%, FT: 64.5%. Some achievements that he has gotten in his career have been Big Ten Freshman of the Year -02, 10 Conf. 1st Team -03, Slovenian Super Cup Finalist -03, Slovenian League All-Star Game -04, D-League All-Star Game -07, and D-League Finalist -07. Currently, he is averaging 9,7ppg and 4,8rpg.
23 year old 203cm power forward Johannes Lischka is playing his first season with EnBW Ludwigsburg.He can hurt you with his three pointer and has a very dangerous penetration into the lane where he can finish in many different ways He started his professional basketball career with TV Lich in 2004 and played for the Giessen 46ers from 2007-2010 while also playing for TV Lich. In 2008-2009 for TV Lich he led the PRO A in scoring with 23,7ppg, 8,8rpg, 2,2apg and 1,8spg. He was bitterly disappointed in 2009 not being invited to the Euro Championships in Poland. The next calamity happened in the second game of the season, as he injured his hand in Frankfurt missing seven games. Last season, he played games: 5.4ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 56.1%. In three seasons for Giessen, he played 86 games. He was a member of the German A-2 national team in 2009 and then played at the University Games in Belgrade (Serbia) -09: 7 games: 10.6ppg, Reb-5(10.4rpg), 2.0spg, FGP: 41.0%, FT: 77.4%. This season, he is averaging 9,0ppg and 5,8rpg.
The team also brought back fan favorite Jerry Green who could jump in for the soul singer Lionel Richie at a concert simply because of the similarity in appearance. He played for EnBW Ludwigsburg from 2004-200t and led the team to their best season in club history in the 2006-2007 season as they belonged to the top teams in the BEKO BBL and reached the semi finals of the playoffs before bowing out to Bamberg. Green is a 30 year old 191cm point guard from Pomona, California. He is a point guard, with great offesive skills, but a first-look-to-pass mentality. He led his college team in scoring for 3 seasons and in assists for 4 seasons… Has a solid body and this allows him to defend well and to grab some rebounds. He can easily hit a three pointer, if left open. He played at Cal Irvine from 1999-2002. In his senior year, he played games: ScoreConf-1(20.3ppg), 3.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.5spg, FGPConf-7(48.2%), 3PTConf-5(36.7%), FTConf-2(82.2% ). He finished his college career as the alltime Cal Urvine leading scorer with 1993 points. In his first two professional seasons, he played in germany for MBC an din Poland before going to Ludwigsburg. His best season in Ludwigsburg was 2006-2007 as he played 42 games: Score-3(16.1ppg), 4.1rpg, Assists-3(4.7apg), 1.5spg, 2FGP: 55.4%, 3FGP: 35.4%, FT: 85.5%. The last three seasons he has played in Belgium for Ostende(8.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.1apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 80.0%), and two years in Italy for Solsonica Rieti(2.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 76.0%) and last season for Cantu playing 37 games: 9.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 83.5%. He is struggling a bit in the early going in Ludwigsburg this season averaging 6,0ppg, 2,8rpg and 3,3apg in 32 minutes per game. Green won the Belgium cup with Ostende in 2008 with ex Skyliner Titus Ivory.
Toby Bailey is a 34 year old 198cm shooting guard-small forward from Los Angeles California. who played 73 games in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns from 1998-2000. He is the fourth-ranked scorer in UCLA school history with 1,846 points trailing only Don MacLean, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Reggie Miller. He won the NCAA title in 1995. “He is a great shooter and has a lot of experience”, said Jannik Freese. Bailey has very much experience in Europe playing his fourth season in Germany and he has also played in countries like Italy, Greece, Belgium, Spain, China and Venezuela. Last season, he played for The Artland Dragons playing 34 games: 10.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 44.1%, FT: 71.1%. He had his first stint in germany in 2007-2008 playing a few months for Cologne, but already showing his great basketball qualities playing League: 11 games: 13.7ppg, 7.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 71.4%; ULEB Cup: 10 games: 13.8ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 78.4%. Some achievements that he has won have been Greek cup winner in 2004, Greek allstar 2004 and 2005 and winning the slam dunk contest in 2005. He was Belgium League Champion -06 and IBL champion 2009 with the Los Angeles Lightning. Currently for Ludwigsburg, he is averaging 6,0ppg, 3,2rpg and 2,0apg.
The team signed Bingo Merriex late in the pre season. He is a 29 year old 204cm power forward from Wichita Falls, Texas. he played at texas-Christian university from 1999-2003 and in his senior year, he played 27 games: 12.6ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.4apg. He has been a basketball world traveler having played in six different countries ins even years including Lebanon, Philippines, Germany, Italy, France and Belgium. he had his first stay in Germany in the 2005-2006 season as he played for Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 30 games: 16.4ppg, Reb-1(10.3rpg), 1.4apg, 2FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 57.2%. He returned back to Tuebingen in 2007-2008 as he played 34 games: 11.3ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 55.0%. In 2008-2009, he played for STB Le Havre (France-ProA, starting five): Eurocup: 8 games: 13.9ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.6apg, 1.5spg; French League: 30 games: 9.8ppg, Reb-2(8.6rpg), 1.9apg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 61.0%. Last season, he played for Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-D1, starting five): EuroChallenge: 6 games: 11.0ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 61.5%; Belgian League: 34 games: 8.8ppg, Reb-5(7.6rpg), 1.4apg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 47.1%. Currently he is averaging 5,5ppg and 3,3rpg in 18 minutes per game. 24 year old 188cm guard German guard David Mccray is playing his third season with EnBW Ludwigsburg. He already made his debut in the BBL as an 18 year old in 2004 with BG Karlsruhe where he played until 2007. He is very athletic that can put the ball in the hoop. He is tough to stop on one on one defense and he is secretly the teams energizer and coach on the court. He can be very efficient on the court as he showed last season as he scored 13 points in 15 minutes against Bamberg and 11 points in 12 minutes against Ratiopharm Ulm. Last season, he played 33 games: 5.0ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 65.0%. this season, he is averaging 5,3ppg, 1,8rpg and 1,8apg in 21 minutes per game. The club also has big german/Albanian talent Besnik Bekteshi who is a 17 year old 188cm guard. Last season, he played for BSG Ludwigsburg (Germany-Regionalliga): 19 games: 12.6ppg, played also for BBA Ludwigsburg (NBBL): 11 games: 16.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 3.7spg. He made an early name for himself this past summer at the Championships U17 in Hamburg (Germany) -10: 8 games: 15.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.9apg, Steals-4(2.3spg), FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT-3(87.0%). He won a bronze at the 2010 Albert Schweitezr tournament in Mannheim in 2010.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have nice memories of the last 10 games against EnBW Ludwigsburg having a 6-4 record. They have a 4-1 record in the Ballsporthalle. One player who has fond memories of playing EnBW Ludwigsburg is ex Skyliner Derrick Allen who was the top scorer of Frankfurt in four of the last six games including a 37 point performance in a 96-87 win in 2008. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners split the season series 1-1 winning 68-64 at home getting 19 points from Aubrey Reese and losing the last game of the season 71-62on the road getting 18 points from Derrick Allen. EnBW Ludwigsburg is having problems scoring as they are averaging only 67 points per game an done thing Frankfurt has consistently done well this season is play defense. “Frankfurt will win this game if they keep playing solid defense, push the ball in transition and Dashaun Wood must control the game. Powell was a big pick up as I am sure that he will play a big role in this game, but will against the top teams in the league”, warned ex Braunschweig guard Steven Wright. Frankfurt is the top rebounding team in the league with 321 and averaging 40,1 a game and dominating the paint will be key again. “Frankfurt has to keep Ludwigsburg off the glass. They crash the boards pretty well from the 3-5 positions”, warned Quentin Pryor. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host EnBW Ludwigsburg on November 10th at 19:30.