Much has changed with The Telekom Baskets Bonn since the depressing and back breaking five game Frankfurt semi final playoff loss in Frankfurt in 2008 as Skyliner captain was unable to score on the last penetration drive which could of propelled the club into the finals against Alba Berlin. The team now plays in the Telekom dome while the old arena the Hardberg halle remains a school gym filled with chilling memories, while players John Bowler, Johannes Strasser and Bernd Kruel have changed jersey colors within the BEKO BBL and Americans Winsome Frazier and Ronald Burrell have gone east to showcase their basketball talents in Poland. The only pieces that still remain from that thrilling 2007-2008 BEKO BBL season is the heart and soul of the team coach Michael Koch, the magentas shirts, Bonny the lion mascot and the offensive rebounder flyer Patrick Flomo who could probably play a game of poker in mid air with Skyliner Quantez Robertson during one of their flights to the basket. That last miss by Pascal Roller in game 5 is more than 900 days ago and is something that the small diminutive German guard had to first think a moment about and recollect his thoughts about that experience. “That is something that I wont be thinking about. That moment was a long time ago and not in my head anymore”, stressed Pascal Roller.”I don’t think that that loss will be on his mind to be honest. That was a few years ago and Frankfurt is focusing on this season and looking to get a good seed and secure any kind of advantage for the playoffs”, warned TBB Trier guard John Bynum. Bynum isn’t Pascal Roller, but can remember a bitter moment in the BEKO BBL that hasn’t left his mind yet. “When I was playing for Bremerhaven, I can remember losing game five at home against Cologne after leading the series 2-1. We blew a seven point lead in game four with four minutes to play in the fourth quarter and then came home losing game five in double figures. This stands out in my mind”, added John Bynum. Frankfurt only has the current Bonn team on their mind and only have Roller, Jimmy Mckinney and Dominic Bahiense De Mello who played in that bitter game five loss. The rest of the team is new and will be gunning to make life uncomfortable for coach Mike Koch and finally win again in Bonn after 1,797 winless days.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn have been in the playoffs since 1997 almost as often as Allen Iverson said “Practice” in his infamous press conference as the club of coach Michael Koch missed just one time in 2005, but have the cruel distinction of not being able to win the big title losing five finals and two cup finals that brings back memories to the NFL Buffalo Bills of the 90s as they perished in four Superbowl finals. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were BBL finalists in 1997,1999, 2001, 2008 and 2009 and Cup finalists in 2005 and 2009. If you lose one final, try try again and if you lose a second consecutive final try try again, but if you reach a third final then the team has to finally win or forever be classified as the German basketball version of the Buffalo Bills football team that had the distinction of being second way too many times. A Michael Phelps has never worried about being second since he has won 11 gold medals at the Olympics, two bronze medals, but no silver medals. Being second hurts about as much as catching someone cheating, but in the BBL with guys coming and going, the trademark of always finishing second shouldn´t really effect a team mentally as much as one might think. “I don’t think that it takes a toll on the team. Teams are usually building new teams each year. But with Bonn that has kept a good core of guys form the last years, that should help the team more than hurt it when it comes to winning a title”, stressed Gloria Giants Duesseldorf guard Steve Wright. The question is can Bonn finally win that first BEKO BBL title this season?
Last season, The Telekom Baskets Bonn finished in fourth place with a record of 24-10, but only to get swept by eventual 2010 BEKO BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg. What really hurt was that the team lost the two homes by not more than four points. It is no secret that some teams gel quicker than others in the first few months and Bonn had problems as they started off on a 5-5 record despite wins against Berlin and Bamberg, they suffered unnecessary loses against Duesseldorf and MBC. But since their 74-59 win against EnBW Ludwigsburg on November 21st, they have cruised through their BEKO BBL schedule with a 19-5 record beating Bamberg, but not being able to beat top teams Oldenburg and The Artland Dragons. “The Telekom Baskets Bonn were a team that could space the floor very well with their shooting and Jared Jordan was tough to stop coming off the pick and roll which they ran a lot. They had had a lot of misfortune with the injury bug though as when one player gets healthy then the next one goes down”, stressed American Quentin Pryor “The strength of Bonn last season was their transition and offensive rebounding”, stressed ex Giessen 46er Ricky Hickman. Quantez Robertson remembered the 74-67 loss to Bonn in the Ballsporthalle last season clearly. “Bonn had some good inside players and when they got going, they made some tough shots down low and got help from the wing”, stressed Quantez Robertson. The only thing that Frankfurt really did well in that loss was register only eight turnovers. They shot 35% from the field and were clearly outrebounded 41-31. Frankfurt lost 80-72 in Bonn last season. In the last five seasons, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners only have a 4-11 record. It doesn´t matter if Frankfurt played at the old gym or in the new arena, Frankfurt is 0-8 in this time. The last time, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners won in Bonn, New England patriot Tom Brady had not sipped champagne yet as a third Super Bowl winner, Jurgen Klinsmann was still coach of the German national soccer team, Paul Potts was still selling cell phones and singing in front of the mirror and the terrifying Tsunami was only a few days old as Frankfurt won in Bonn on January 1st 2005 with a 79-67 win as Chris Williams exploded with 27 points and 16 rebounds.
In building the new foundation for the 2010-2011 Telekom Baskets Bonn team, coach Michael Koch said good bye to John Bowler, Moussa Diagne, Ronald Dupree, Artur Kolodziejski, Johannes Strasser, Bryce Taylor and Jared Jordan. The team kept a healthy core of guys by keeping BEKO BBL legend Chris Ensminger, Alex King, Vincent Yarbrough, Patrick Flomo, Tim Ohlbrecht and young Germans Fabian Thulig and Jonas Wohlfahrt-Bottermann. Currently the club has a record of 8-6 and is riding on a four game winning streak. Their biggest wins of the season have been against BG Goettingen, The EWE Baskets Oldenburg and The Artland Dragons. “Bonn has struggled a bit this season, but they were missing some key players, but they have weathered the storm and with Flomo back are a team that many teams don’t want to play against and they are very much in the playoff hunt”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. Bonn has strong play under the boards with Ensminger, Ohlbrecht, Flomo and Jaacks, but also have the threat of Wise, Campbell and Hunt. “The Bonn guard play of Hunt and Wise is their strength and give them a great backcourt. Bonn has a very talented line up with a solid inside out game and can run with the best of them, but does the team have a big weakness? “If they have a weakness it was their injuries which played a big role in their six loses”, warned John Bynum. With Bonn not qualifying to the next round of the Eurochallenge, they will have more energy to focus on the BEKO BBL. Not advancing was a huge disappointment. “Yes we did hope for more. We had very talented opponents that were playing very well not only in their country leagues, but also in the Eurochallenge. You never really know what can happen in a competition like this. If you aren’t totally serious, you will have harder chances to do well. The teams had more experience than us at each position”, stressed Alex King.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn are led by American Jeremy Hunt who is a 27 year old 196cm guard from Memphis, Tennessee. He is an athletic shooting guard, who has the size (6-foot-5) and the skills for a top level game. He can run and shoot, passes the ball well, and gives his best in an up-tempo game. He played at Memphis from 2002-2007 and in his senior year played 37 games averaging 14.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3Pts: 38.2%, FT: 71.7%. he reached the NCAA elite 8 in 2007. He started his professional basketball career in Poland in 2007 with SKS Polpharma-Pakmet Starogard Gd. (Poland-DBE), Polish League: 5 games: 3.4ppg, 2.4rpg; released in Nov.’07, in Feb.’08 moved to Kaiserslautern Braves (Germany-ProA, starting five): 9 games: 15.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 68.9%. In 2008-2009, he made the step to the BEKO BBL playing for Koeln 99ers playing 32 games averaging 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 77.2%. Last season, he played in Portugal for FC Porto Ferpinta playing 30 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.9spg, FGP-3(60.8%), 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 81.0%. This season, he is averaging 13,9ppg, 2,6rpg and 2,3apg. His shooting has been solid as well at 45% from the field and 40% from outside. The team also brought in Folarin Campbell from Silver Springs Maryland who is a 24 year old 193cm shooting guard/ small forward. He has Nigerian roots and his name means the man that walks with glory. He played college basketball at George Mason from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 34 games: 15.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 73.3%: He finished career at George Mason ranked fourth all-time in assists (392), fifth in three-point field goals attempted (489), sixth in three-point field goals made (163) and eighth in scoring (1,545 points). Is the only player in school history with 1,500 points, 450 rebounds, 350 assists, 150 3-pointers, 100 steals and 50 blocks. He reached the NCAA Final 4 in 2006. he had a very solid rookie season in 2008-2009 in Italy for Solsonica Rieti playing 30 games: 11.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 68.8%. Last season, he entered the BEKO BBL playing for the Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (Germany-1.Bundesliga): EuroChallenge: 12 games: 8.7ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 81.8%; German League: 33 games: 7.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 64.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 71.0%. This season, he is averaging 13,6ppg, 3,8rpg and 2,0apg. “He helps us a lot. He didn’t have a good year in Artland last year, but this season one is seeing his qualities. He can shoot, penetrate and play very good defense”, stressed Bonn forward Alex King.
Coach Michael Koch is known for having a good handle for getting talented point guards as in the last years he has produced Americans Jason gardner, EJ Rowland and Jared Jordan. This season, he has brought in Nic Wise who is a BEKO BBL rookie. He is a 23 year old 178cm point guard that played at Arizona(NCAA) from 2006-2010. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 14.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 87.8%. This season, he is averaging 12,0ppg, 2,0rpg and 3,0apg. Frankfurt probably will want to let him take the three pointer since he is shooting only 17,4% from downtown. “Wise can score and pass, but one cant forget that he is a rookie just out from college. He needs to learn more how European basketball works, but that will come with time. Coach Koch is teaching him more how to create more and get the team more into the game”, added Alex King. The club did a fantastic job complementing the team with 37 year old 209cm center veteran Chris Ensminger last season and has returned for a second season and who is as known in the BEKO BBL as jiffy popcorn in the states. He is a BBL statesman that has won two BBL titles with Bamberg in 2005 and 2007, had season double double averages in the BBLwith ppg and rpg from 2001-2005. He always gives 100% with relentless hard work under the hoop and one has to look closely for him to sneak a smile during a game. He is a strong center with fantastic rebound-skills, can score from the low-post. He is right handed, but shoots FTs with the left hand. His biggest success was with Bamberg, but he also played in Paderborn and MBC. Before he came to Germany, he played in the NCAA with Valparaiso from 1992-1996. Then he got his first experience as a professional basketball player in Portugal, France and New Zealand. Last season for Bonn, he played EuroCup: 5 games: 16.0ppg, 10.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, FT: 75.0%; German League: 35 games: 12.8ppg, Reb-2(8.5rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 54.9%, FT: 74.0%. Ensminger may be 36, but his intelligence may out weigh his talent. “Ensminger plays so hard and is always in the right position on the boards. He won´t out jump anyone, but he is pretty smart”, stressed Quentin Pryor. Former teammate Steve Wright has fond memories of the native from Ohio as they were played together in Paderborn. “Chris is smarter than his opponents and always puts himself in the right position. He is extremely disciplined and is a leader. I don´t think there is really a way to stop him as he is very consistent. He was like a big brother for me and when he gave me advice I listened”, added ex New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig guard Steven Wright. The game of Ensminger also seems to have a special taste as he is always a joy to watch. “His hook shot at the 2010 BEKO BBL Allstar game was very nice. He has an old school game so I wasn´t shocked when I saw it. He seems to have a bag of shots like that”, commented Quentin Pryor. Alex King is playing hiss econd season with the veteran that plays like a 28 year old. “He is one of the best centers in the league and can do it all under the hoop, pass, and use both hands. He is just a complete player. Of the court he is a quiet player, but one that you can talk to. I have a lot of respect for him”, expressed Alex King. Currently Ensminger is averaging 11,6ppg, 8,0rpg and 1,0apg.
The club also brought in insurance from the bench by adding Mark Tyndale who is a 24 year old 196cm guard from Philadelphia. He played at temple from 2004-2008 and in his senior year played 34 games: 15.9ppg, 7.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3Pts: 36.8%, FT: 70.7%. He started his professional basketball career in 2008 for Adelaide 36ers (Australia-NBL): 10 games: 13.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-3(2.0spg), FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 61.2%, left in Nov.’08, in March ’09 moved to Iowa Energy (D-League): 16 games: 11.3ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 69.7%. Last season, he started the season with the Milwaukie Bucks, but got cut and played for the Iowa Energy (D-League): 56 games: 12.8ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 26.4%, FT: 71.7%. Currently he is averaging 8,5ppg, 2,7rpg and 1,9apg and is shooting well at 46% from the field and 42% from the parking lot. The team also returned 22 year 211cm power forward Tim Ohlbrecht from Wuppertal is averaging 6,3ppg and 5,3rpg this season. He is coming off an injury and will surely step up his game with time. He started his basketball career with Leverkusen in 2003, but left in 2006 for the Brose Baskets. He played at the farm club TSV Breitenguessbach and for Bamberg playing 68 BEKO BBL games and 11 Euroleague games. His playing time rose each year from 10 to 12 to 13 minutes, but was never really able to develop the way he and the club wanted him to. He has the complete package for a power forward with nice post moves. Finishing around the rim and hitting the three point shot which Frankfurt had to swallow in the first game this season and can play the positions 2-5. He also is becoming a more central figure in the German National team as he played in the 2008 Olympic games and in the 2009 European Championships averaging 5,0ppg and 2,2rpg. At the 2010 World Championships in Turkey he played 5 games: 8.0ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 63.6%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 61.5%. The team also returns Alex King who is a 25 year old 200cm shooting guard/small forward that is playing his third season for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He started his career for Eintracht Frankfurt (2Bundesliga, starting five): 27 games: 8.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg – Frankfurt Opel Skyliners (1Bundesliga): 4 games, 0 ppg, 0,3 rpg; ULEB Cup: 2 games: 1.0ppg, 2reb. He played for the Opel Skyliners/Deutsche Bank Skyliners from 2003-2008 winning the 2004 BEKO BBL title and reaching the final in 2005. In his time in Frankfurt, he played 129 BEKO BBL games, 21 ULEB Cup games and 9 Euroleague games. He has been playing for The Telekom Baskets Bonn since 2008. Last season, he played EuroCup: 6 games: 4.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.0apg; German League: 36 games: 4.4ppg, 1.9rpg. This season, he is averaging 6,1ppg, 2,3rpg and 1,0apg in 20 minutes.” I think that I have developed in Bonn and I am continuing to. I have learned a lot from coach Michael Koch with my shooting, ball handling and post play. I am allowed to mistakes and wont be taken off the court right away. He has a lot of confidence in my defense”, added Alex King.
The team also signed 33 year old 208cm forward Jacob Jaacks who is playing professional basketball since 2000 and comes to Bonn with a lot of experience having played in 6 countries including France, Spain, Turkey, Israel, Ukraine and Italy. He has a surprising variety of moves, can post-up with both hands, shoot from mid-range, and hit the three pointer and has an amazing work ethic. He also has a quick eye for a forward and can quickly make the fast outlet pass on the fast break. He played at Iowa(NCAA) and played in 21 ULEB cup games. His most productive season as a professional was 2002-2003 in Italy for 2002-2003: Acqua Lauretana Biella (Italy-SerieA): 12.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 67.4% 2, 48.6%. Last season, he played for Hapoel Afula (Israel-Premier League): 13 games: 7.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 65.2%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 68.6%. This season, he is averaging 5,7ppg and 4,1rpg. 30 year old 203cm forward Patrick Flomo from Columbus Ohio is playing his fifth season for The Telekom Baskets Bonn and is the perfect example of a solid role player that comes from the bench and brings energy, scores with flights to the hoop or helps on defense with his shot blocking help. He played at Ohio University from 1999-2002 together with Eisbaeren Bremerhaven forward Steven Esterkamp. He started his professional basketball career in Finland with UU-Korihait averaging 22,1ppg and 15,5rpg and then played in Holland and then came to Germany and played with the Hertener Lions of the second league averaging 17,0ppg and 10,0 rpg. He is coming off a tough injury, but will be playing his third game this season against The Deutsche Bank Skyliners. His best season in Bonn was last season as he played EuroCup: 6 games: 7.7ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 62.5%, FT: 60.0%; German League: 33 games: 5.0ppg, 3.6rpg.
The team also signed Sajmen Hauer who is a 22 year old 190cm guard from Nurnberg. Hauer was one of the biggest German talents for the birth year 1988 as he already played 6 BEKO BBL games as a 17 year old in the 2005-2006 season for The Brose Baskets Bamberg. He would play a total of 16 more games in the 2006-2008 season, but after this quick rise, his career seemed to take a nose dive as a lack of discipline seemed to get in his playing career as he played for Franken Hexer (ProB): 14 games: 10.6ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.3apg, 2FG: 42.7%, 3FG: 32.8%, FT: 67.7%. Last season, he played for RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (ProB, starting five): 26 games: 13.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 75.8%. Coach Michael Koch did a fine deed taking a chance on him, but he has hardly cracked the Bonn lineup this season playing four games and a total of 5,44 minutes. The club also has talented youngsters Fabian Thulig(3,0ppg, 1,4apg and 6 BEKO BBL games) who is a 21 year old 196cm forward who has been with the club since 2006 and Jonas Wohlfarth-Botterman(2,0ppg, 1,0rpg, 1 BEKO BBL game) who is a 20 year old 207cm center who has been with the team since 2007 who are trying to break into the rotation and not just heat the bench. Both have a license to play for Rhondorf(PRO A). The team is still hoping that the ex NBA player Vincent Yarbrough will return to action. Yarbrough is a 29 year old 201 cm forward that played at Tennessee (NCAA) from 1998-2002. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 17.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.6 apg. In 2002 he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets (NBA,2rd(33). He played 59 NBA games for The Denver Nuggets from 2002-2004. He came to Europe in 2004 and played in Belgium and Italy before landing in Bamberg in 2006 playing ULEB Cup: 10 games: 5.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 58.6%, 3FGP: 21.9%; German League: 46 games: 7.7ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 59.4%, 3FGP: 31.9%, FT: 65.7% and winning the BEKO BBL title together with ex NBA player Casey Jacobson. In 2007 he played for EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 14 games: 6.9ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 37.2%, 3PT: 30.5%, FT: 78.6%. He has been in Bonn since 2008 playing a total of 47 BEKO BBL games.
The BEKO BBL is a league with very talented point guards and it seems like one can get as excited for each new Frankfurt game because point guard Dashaun Wood will have a new duel with an opposing point guard. So far Wood has scored in double figures in 13 of 15 games and only had problems scoring against Duesseldorf with 4 points and eight points against The Artland Dragons. The match up of the game will be Dashaun Wood-Nic Wise. “This will be a fast paced duel as usual. Both guards get up and down the court and it should be entertaining”, warned John Bynum. The stats are pretty even, but Frankfurt has the edge under the boards, but cant afford to let Chris Ensminger pick daisys in the zone. “Frankfurt will have to defend the ball screen well, control the guard play and keep Ensminger off the boards”, added BBC Bayreuth guard Osvaldo Jeanty. “Frankfurt has to just play their game and push the ball. If Wood can create and do what he does best then Frankfurt should win”, warned John Bynum. Frankfurt can hope that should Wood get checked that they will have a supporting cast ready to jump in and produce. “Bonn has to play their game and not let Wood get in the lane too often and let other players make the plays”, stressed John Bynum. If it is a close game in crunch time, then it will be critical which team is able to execute better. “This will be a very competitive game. Both teams match up very well. Bonn played well against Artland last weekend. Both teams have very capable offenses and guards that can score. The team that get the key stops at the end will win”, warned Bamberg forward Kyle Hines. Frankfurt has learned from the big run of BBC Bayreuth last weekend. “We have to go in very focused and with a lot of energy. If we get down by 15 points like last weekend then it will be very difficult to win on the road”, warned Dashaun Wood. The Telekom Baskets Bonn host The Deutsche Bank Skyliners December 29th at 20:00.