When the MBC Wolves come in packs to the Ballsporthalle, the Deutsche Bank Skyliners will possibly have the choice of experiencing the aggressive wolf sneer of Michael hakim Jordan or his gregarious giant lovable smile that could melt ten feet of snow in the dead of winter in Winnipeg, Manitoba, get a weak, but positive smile from pro football player Terell Brown who is forced to diet on Thanksgiving and watch his teammates snack on a Turkey and spare ribs or even have the rare raw talent of getting a quick grin from the German politicians who were insulted in Wikipedia. Either way Jordan will be able to put on his competitive wolf sneer or model his irresistible and charming smile and will still play his typical hard game and be the strong MBC floor general that he has been this season leading the wolf attack. But current BEKO BBL players see the wolf sneer as possibly the better choice of attack form Jordan. “I think that any time when Jordan is on the court that his wolf sneer would be the better bet for Frankfurt. Because anytime when he is smiling with all those white teeth then means things are going well for him”, warned TBB Trier guard John Bynum. When Jordan was with Cologne in 2006, he flashed those whitey whites for days after the team won the title and players remember when Jordan uses his choppers to show the world he has had success. “For the sake of Frankfurt, they better hope that Jordan plays with the wolf sneer, because if he is smiling then it means that he is winning”, stressed ex Phoenix Hagen teammate Quentin Pryor.
MBC left the BEKO BBL in 2004 and returned back in 2009. For even the most dedicated MBC fans. five years of inactivity from the highest German Basketball league may have felt like five years without your favourite beer, or for a child being able to go into a candy store, but not grab for their favourite candy. How tough must it have been for the organization and fans in 2004 to win the prestigious Fiba Europe Cup against JDA Dijon 84-68 not losing a single game in international play and a short time later have to learn that they would have to stop their successful run in the BBL due to bankruptcy.” I remember watching the Eurocup final in 2004. I am happy that MBC is back and it is nice to see how well a job young coach Bjorn Harmsen is doing. It is a special team that is playing with a lot of emotion and energy. It is refreshing to see that 10 players are sharing minutes, scoring and rebounding”, stressed Murat Didin.
This was a huge blow to the region and may only have been topped if a severe unusual drought had whipped away the two natural springs, the Leisslinger mineral water and Saskia Quelle where mineral water is bottled in the region. However the organization never gave up, took up playing in the Regionaliga and eventually moving up to the Second Bundesliga/PRO A and continuing to build up the team financially and through success on the court. Coach Ari Tammivaara was sort of the early architect managing a record of 72-20 until 2007.
In the 2008-2009 PRO A season, MBC ploughed through the league with a 26-4 record with the same easy as a bull dozer had to get through the sloppy and treacherous roads and drive ways during the New England blizzard of 1978. Even though the team was so commanding at home with a 14-1 record, it simply couldn´t get by Bayreuth that won the season series. The team had better luck against Phoenix Hagen sweeping the season series who they will meet again with changed rosters in the BBL. The team scored 90 points or more nine times and 100 points or more twice. There strongest phase was in the middle of the season going on an 14 game winning streak. They also showed that they could step it up on defense if they needed to ousting Science City Jena 61-48 and also showing their own nerves of steel grinding out close wins against The Teck Pro Braves 68-67 and 83-81 against Cuxhaven. The only real slip up that the team had was a 95-76 defeat against USC Heidelberg. Without question, MBC was the best team in the PRO A last season and rightfully deserved to return back to the BBL after a five year drought and soon after gave the fans a tasty summer gift as management announced that the club was also prepared to enter the BBL with the minimum allocated budget. “I believe what made MBC so strong is that everyone knew and ACCEPTED their role. Coach Harmson makes sure they are prepared and its up to the players to do their part. It seemed that everyone was on the same page“, stressed Bayreuth youth coach Sean Mccaw.
Last season, MBC played very solid and were near and around the playoff standings for the whole season and really surpassing the highest expectations. The team finished the season in 10th place with a record of 18-16 and at times played as if they were a playoff team despite having the smallest budget in the BEKO BBL The team started off quickly winning their first three games and having a 6-2 record including wins against The Telekom Baskets Bonn and The Brose Baskets Bamberg. The only problem that the club really had was that it wasn´´t always consistent. Despite their up and down play, the team had shown that it can compete with any team as they also added wins against 2009 BEKO BBL champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg and the Artland Dragons to their collection. Their biggest win of the season was against 8 time BEKO BBL champion Alba Berlin. The team had a lightening start like the Nordlingen Giants in 2008-2009, but the only difference is that they have been able to play solid all the way through, not sustain injuries and not have to count on a four man rotation. MBC had a very young team which might have had to do with their up and down play. “It is really a matter of execution. Sometimes we executed well while other times we are very sloppy. We were not always mature to balance out our game plan”, stressed ex MBC American Ade Dagunduro who is playing in Belgium this season. “Teams started to figure out how to attack them and play against them”, said Quentin Pryor. MBC was able to strengthen their offense last season. “MBC was always a defensive team, but now the team is very solid on offense”, stated Quentin Pryor. “MBC play very hard at both ends of the court and play together as a whole unit”, stressed Tuebingen guard Steven Wright. “When you have 12 players on the same page then it is also a lot easier to win. “We were a young team and all guys seemed to connect very well. We all understood each other and they were all good guys. I like every guy”, stressed ex CSKA center Anatoly Kashirov.
Last season, MBC got off to a quick 6-2 start, but this season the opposite has occurred as the team started at 3-7 and are moping at position 16 near the BEKO BBL cellar. Nobody has to be a mathematician wiz to see that MBC seems to have a little less quality than last season. The team lost key players Ade Dagunduro, Giorgi Gamqrelidze, Anatoly Kashirov and Nikita Khartchenkov and role players Ivan Elliot and Oskar Fassler. This season, the team got Michael hakim Jordan and Jerome Tillman who have been their most important players and solid role players Vassil Evtimov and Davon Roberts. MBC might have gotten off to a slow start, but the season is long and the team will surely still make a run. “MBC is a good solid team with some good individual players. They can beat any team on any given night in the BEKO BBL. They have great guard play with Jordan and Bernard. They will find their rhythm soon”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. “MBC is a solid team that just hasn´t come together yet this season”, warned Phoenix Hagen guard Quentin Pryor. Having a Jordan barking the signals in the backcourt and having a Bernard scoring, MBC have little weakness at the guard position. “The MBC guard play is great. They also have good experience in the paint with Guido Grunheid. They will get better as the season goes along”, commented John Bynum. MBC is only averaging 31 rebounds per game which is 7 less than what The Deutsche Bank Skyliners average, but the club can have a strong rebounding day anytime especially when a Vassil Evtimov is making room under the boards. “They are a very good rebounding team. They have big bodies that crash and control the glass”, warned Quentin Pryor.
With only three wins and an average of 67 points per game, there must be some deficiency in the MBC play that doesn´t allow them to get more success so far this season? “MBC seems not to really have a main threat down low. They are also missing a go to guy that can get that important bucket when the game is close”, stressed Quentin Pryor. Despite having a 10 man rotation, MBC seems to be lacking some punch off the bench. “A weakness of MBC is their depth, but teams can´´t forget that they can beat any team on any given night. MBC has fight hard like every other team in the BEKO BBL”, stressed John Bynum. MBC might be near the end of the playoffs and the last thing on their mind is their chances of reaching the playoffs, but playoff teams Bonn and Goettingen also have started slow and most likely have goals of reaching the playoffs. “Anything is possible in this league for reaching the playoffs. I don´t really think that there is much difference between 4-18 in the BEKO BBL. Bamberg, Berlin and Frankfurt are the only teams that have separated themselves from the rest”, said John Bynum. “MBC have a chance to reach the playoffs since the BEKO BBL is very tight. No team is out of the race yet”, commented Quentin Pryor.
MBC is led by American Jerome Tillmann who is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Beavercreek, Ohio who is a BEKO BBL rookie. He played at Ohio(NCAA) from 2005-2009. In his senior year, he played games 32 games averaging 17.7ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3Pts: 32.9%, FT: 73.6%. Last season, he played for Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA): EuroChallenge: 12 games: 12.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 63.3%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 78.4%; French League: 30 games: 13.3ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 68.7%. This season, he is averaging 13,8ppg, 4,9rpg, 1,1apg and 1,0spg. Wayne Bernard who was the 2009 PRO A player of the year is a 29 year old 190cm combo guard from Poway, California who is playing his third season for MBC. He has displayed a knack for knocking down clutch baskets in key situations and is a player that performs at his best in pressure situations. He has superb range on his jumper, and can also drive to the hoop with slashing moves. He is also a capable ball handler. He played at Davidson(NCAA) from 2000-2003. Bernard has very much experience having played in countries like Israel, Greece, France, Sweden and Finland It doesn´´t matter where Bernard ha splayed, he has always been a scorer. in the 2008-2009 season where MBC moved up to the BEKO BBL, he played 30 games: 14.4ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 43.2%, FT: 80.4%. Last season, he played 34 games: 8.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.7apg, Steals-5(1.5spg), FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 80.8%. This season, he is averaging 12,7ppg, 1,9rpg and 1,2spg. He also is shooting pretty consistent with 46% form the field and 39% from the parking lot.
Michael Jordan is a 33 year old 183cm point guard from the city of brotherly love that is playing his first season with MBC and his for his fourth BEKO BBL team. The scouting report on Jordan reads like a encyclopedia that had to go overtime because of the lengthy information. Jordan understands the game and knows how its played. When asked to get teammates involved he will reduce his scoring output and add to his assist total. When asked to score, he can and will, without forcing the issue. And Michael Jordan always defends. At 183 cm he is extremely quick on his feet and combined with his fearless attitude he can drive an opponent crazy defending him full court, half court, over and through picks, or away from the ball. Of course his quickness is an asset on the offensive end also. But its combined with his experience and poise that makes him so effective. Michael Jordan is a leader on the court who can score in many ways and has all the skills to make the players around him look better. He is a motivator, organizer, and director who gets his teammates ready to play hard. Michael is extremely dangerous in the transition phase almost always making the right decision. He can go coast to coast, pull up for the shot, or find the right guy running the lanes. In the half court set Michael also has many options to choose from. He is an excellent pick and roll player as he is able to turn the corner and take it to the hole. When the defense cheats or switches he can hit the three or take a bigger guy one-on-one. In addition to his skills on both ends of the floor he has the necessary desire and drive to win every game. He plays with an intensity that fuels his teammates and the crowd alike. On the court Michael Jordan is the complete package at his position. He started his basketball career at Pennsylvania and started his BEKO BBL career with the Artland Dragons in 2002 helping the small village team reach the BEKO BBL. in the 2004-2005 season he played 34 games: 11.1ppg, 3.4rpg, Ast-1(6.4apg), 1.3spg, 2.6bpg, 2FGP: 52.5%, 3FGP: 31.3% and lost to the Opel Skyliners in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. His career highlight so far was winning the BEKO BBL title in 2006 with Cologne. He has played in countries like France, Belgium, Israel and Greece. Last season, he came late to Phoenix Hagen and helped the team stay in the league averaging 2.3rpg, Assists-5(5.3apg), FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 73.3%. his season, he is averaging 10,1ppg, 2,7rpg and 4,8apg and shooting very well with 44% form the field and 40% from the three point line.
The team also brought back German Guido Gruinheid who is a 28 year old 209cm forward from Jena. He is an in-betweener forward with the height (but not the size) of a 4 and the quickness (but not the ball handling and the shot) of a 3. A good rebounder and a hustler. He played for Alba Berlin from 2001-2005 winning three BEKO BBL titles. He then moved to Rhein Energie Koln in 2005 where he won his fourth BEKO BBL title in 2006. He got added experience playing in Holland for Hanzevast Capitals Groningen . He also has gained valuable experience playing for the German national team as he was a member playing at the 2006 World Championships in Japan and at teh 2007 European Championships in Spain. Last season for MBC, he played 34 games: 8.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 58.0%. This season, he is averaging 8,0ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,0apg. Radenko Pilcevic is a 24 year old 188cm guard from Serbia that is playing his second season for MBC and is the back up to Michael Jordan. He had solid stats at KK Borac Cacak in 2008-2009 playing 31 games and averaging 10.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 85.1%. Last season, he played 33 games averaging 7.4ppg, 1.7rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 72.0%. This season, he is averaging 6,3ppg, 1,5rpg and 2,1apg. He has had problems with his shooting as he is struggling shooting only 28,2% from the field and 26% from outside.
28 year old 202 cm forward Sascha Leutloff got a second chance in the BBL after playing the last three with MBC and becoming into a solid role player. He started to play organized basketball at age 16 and developed rapidly into a promising player. He has very good speed and athletic potential, is a very good and aggressive defender, can play inside out, is an exceptional offensive rebounder, is a very good character and smart person on and off the court. In 2008-2009 in the PRO A, he averaged 9.9ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 23.7%, FT: 48.9%. He demonstrated that he was a very reliable scorer scoring in double figures in 17 games. Last season he played 38 games averaging 2.8ppg, 2.0rpg. Before coming to MBC, he played some years with Alba Berlin playing 9 BEKO BBL games and three Euroleague games and winning the BEKO BBL cup in 2006. Currently he is averaging 5,6ppg and 3,4rpg. The team kept 28 year old, 203cm forward, 230 pound Johnnie Gilbert who will be playing his fourth season with MBC. He played at Oklahoma(NCAA) and played together with Alba Berlin guard Hollis Price and was very successful winning the 12 Conf. Tournament in 01,02,03, reaching the NCAA Final Four -02 and NCAA Elite Eight -03. Before landing with MBC, Gilbert played in Chile and Finland. In the 2008-2009 PRO A season, he played 30 games averaging 13.2ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 61.9%, FT: 59.8%. Last season, he played 20 games averaging 9.1ppg, 4.6rpg, FGP-2(68.5%), FT: 50.8%. Currently Gilbert is averaging 5,5ppg and 5,8rpg.
With the injury to Velirmir Radinovic, MBC got some real experience getting Vassil Evtimov who is a 33 year old 207cm power forward from Sofia, Bulgaria, but also has the French citizenship. He played at North Carolina(NCAA) and turned professional in 1999. He is a big man that does the dirty work inside using his big body getting rebounds. But he has also showed that he can score and grab rebounds as he got two consecutive double doubles this season for MBC. He has been a world basketball traveler having played in countries like Greece, Italy, Russia, France, Spain, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. His biggest success as a professional was winning the Saporta Cup with Maroussi(Greece) in 2001 and being MVP. He was a member of the French national team from 1999-2002 and with Bulgaria in 2009. Last season he was very active playing for three teams with BC Levski Sophia (Bulgaria-NBL, starting five), Balkan League: 1 game: 8pts, 6reb, 1ast; in Oct.’09 moved to Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1), Greek League: 4 games: 2.0ppg, 5.0rpg; in Jan.’10 moved to Proteas EKA AEL Limassol (Cyprus-Division A, starting five): EuroChallenge: 4 games: 3.5ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0apg. Currently he is averaging 5,2ppg and 6,3rpg.
The team also brought back Canadian Velimir Radinovic who is a 29 year old 212cm center that also has the Serbian citizenship. He was born in Toronto, Canada and has Serbian parents. He played at Ohio state from 2000-2004. Early in his career he played for top European teams FMP Zeleznik Beograd and KK Hemofarm Vrsac. In 2007-2008, he played for Clermontois Basket Auvergne (France-ProA, starting five): 28 games: 5.6ppg, 3.9rpg, 2FGP: 57.3%, FT: 79.6%. In 2008-2009, he played for Iraklis Thessaloniki (Greece-A2): 29 games: 7.0ppg, 4.4rpg, 2FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 87.0%. Last season for MBC, he came late in the season and played nine games averaging 4.1rpg, FGP: 59.4%, FT: 69.2%. He won the Serbian and Montenegro Cup in 2005 for Reflex Beograd. He was a member of the Canadian national team in 2005. Currently he is averaging 4,0ppg and 1,7rpg. The team also signed Davon Roberts who is a 24 year old 197cm forward from Covina California. He played at Cal State Sacramento before finishing at Ausa Pacific (NAIA): 35 games: 16.0ppg, 6.9rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 38.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 62.8%. In 2008-2009, he started his basketball career for Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (Germany-ProB, starting five): 29 games: 16.5ppg, Reb-2(9.4rpg), 2.1apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-5(1.0bpg), FGP: 60.1%, 3PT: 13.3%, FT: 67.4%. Last season, he played for Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA): 29 games: 10.5ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 56.3%. Currently, he is averaging 3,0ppg in 11.52 minutes per game.
After getting their seven game BEKO BBL winning streak snapped in Berlin in a game where the gang of coach Gordon Herbert led and dominated until the 36 minute, the Deutsche Bank Skyliners had a ordeal of a trip to the Ukraine for their Eurochallenge game against Khimik Yuzny and let another game get away losing 61-60 with a Curtis Milleage buzzer beater. Both MBC and Frankfurt enter the Ballsporthalle on Saturday with something to prove. Frankfurt lost two games in a row that tehy should of won and MBC try to rebound after getting killed at home by three time BEKO BBL champion Brose Baskets 78-55 and were trailing by as much as 30 points in the fourth quarter. Frankfurt will see a totally different MBC club on Saturday. “The loss to Bamberg was big. It is never tough to come back after a big loss like that. MBC knows that there is a lot of room for improvement. MBC will have alot of motivation to focus on doing things right against Frankfurt so mistakes dont happen again”, stressed Quentin Pryor.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners will still be without AJ Moye and Roger Powell, but at least the team has Jermaine Bucknor back who shined in Berlin adding 17 points and showing his big strength of hitting the three pointer. “Having Bucknor back is big. He doesnt need extra time to learn the plays or get adjusted. He can put in without hesitation”, stressed Quentin Pryor. “Anytime that you have a player back that plays a key role, it really helps out. Depth is big, because anytime a team has to go lower on depth chart, the more you are asking other guys to do when they werent used to being in a situation like that and being consistent”, said John Bynum. Frankfurt will not only have to win MBC on the court, but also be very focused mentally. They should be able to learn from their own mistakes the last two games. “Frankfurt can´t allow what happened to MBC against Bamberg effect them in any way about what they think about MBC as a basketball team. MBC is like any other team in the BEKO BBL and they can beat Frankfurt”, warned Quentin Pryor. Frankfurt will have to be focused and remember who the MBC guards are. “Frankfurt has to establish their game and can be successful that way. They can´t allow Jordan or Bernard to control the game. The game will be determined by key players on both sides. It will be a good game”, stressed John Bynum. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host MBC on December 4th at 18:30.