For The Deutsche Bank Skyliners, their goal now after the TOP 4 bust in Bamberg losing too Braunschweig and Artland with very little resistance like a George Clooney has for beautiful women is too just finish the current beko BBL season on a strong measure while for Phoenix Hagen, the season is winding down quickly and some players are already counting the days before they are back home in the crib and getting ready for where ever they will play next season. Phoenix Hagen is tiptoeing in muddy no mans land at the moment not wanting to get their sneakers filthy, but at the same wanting to get as many wins as possible. Despite their dream of reaching the playoffs in their second season back in the beko BBL not happening, something positive can still happen to American teammates Jacob Burtschi and Mark Dorris. Both guys are beko BBL rookies and if nothing goes drastically wrong like a team like Bamberg playing a lower team leading by 20 on their home court and then losing in crunch time, one of them or possibly both could be named best beko BBL newcomer 2011 on account of their consistent and potent play this season. ‘I didnt even know that there was such an award. It would be a great honor. I think it would be pretty interesting if we both shared th award’, commented Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. ‘Both of them have a great chance because both of them had great seasons and led there team in a lot of ways. I like both of their styles of play and they bring a lot to the table day in and day out’, warned TBB Trier guard John Bynum.It has been so much more surprising how well they have developed considering Quantez Robertson friend Mark Dorris came from the PRO A where one isnt always guarenteed of making a splash in the beko BBL, but guys like Danny Gibson and Omari Westley have recently and Jacob Burtschi who had to wait 3 years after finishing in the NCAA, because he had to fulfill his duty in the Air Force. ‘I am very surprised how well it has gone for me. I knew that I could be an effort player if all else failed, but surprisingly I have shot the ball well and done a few other things well. I am glad that my hard work for three years has paid off. I think that Mark has always been a great player. He was just never given the opportunity until this year. He finally had the opportunity to showcase his talent’, stressed Phoenix Hagen American Jacob Burtschi. ‘I was surprised because I know being out for one year it was hard for me to get into a rhythm but Jacob Burtschi did a great job and is having a great season. He can shoot the ball from anywhere and causes a lot of match up problems. I got to see Mark Dorris last season in Cuxhaven and he deserves to be at this level. It did not surprise me one bit, there are a lot of players in Pro A if given the right chance and the right system can have a lot of success, Hagens system gave Mark a great chance to show his ability and he took full advantage of the opportunity’, warned TBB Trier guard John Bynum. It is only normal that both guys will want to finish the season helping their team get wins and also shine in their own play and will be as focused as the NCAA team Butler team has been this March Madness, actor George Clooney having to explain why he is a witness in the Silvio Berlusconi prostitution trial despite only meeting him once and how the Deutsche Bank Skyliners will have to be against Phoenix Hagen when they meet April 8th in the Ballsporthalle.
Last season, Phoenix Hagen finished the year in 16th place just staying in the BEKO BBL by 0ne point as they had a record of 9-25. The two biggest problems of the team was a lack of defense and a thin rotation. If the club had not gotten Michael hakim Jordan in the stretch run, then the club might be visiting towns like Kirchheim, Cuxhaven and Kaiserslautern in the PRO A. The club started solid with a 2-2record beating Giessen and Ratiopharm Ulm, but then went 1-8 and landing in the BEKO BBL cellar. The team lost by more than 20 points five times and the Artland Dragons poured in over 100 points. The club then reacted bringing in Jordan and the team prompt went on a three game winning streak beating TBB Trier, The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and sweeping the season series at home against Giessen where Jordan was the hero with a game winning shot. However then as if Jordan had turned invisible, the team went on a 10 game losing streak. They finished the season with a 3-6 record beating Duesseldorf, EnBW Ludwigsburg and Paderborn, but were never able to beat a playoff team.
This season, the club kept a core of players with Quentin Pryor, Bernd Kruel and Zygimantas Jonusas and signed many new players with Mark Dorris, Jacob Burtschi, Matt Terwilliger, David Bell and Edward Seward. It is never easy to start with numerous new players, but Phoenix Hagen started the season very well winning four of their first six games scoring 107 points against the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven, but then getting hit for 103 points the next weekend against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. The team was averaging 83 points in the first month a game in comparison to scoring only 72 points last season. Their up and down style can be a hazard to at times. ‘The way Phoenix Hagen plays, it can be a hit or miss. They are capable of going minutes scoring in buckets and then also minutes without getting buckets’, warned John Bynum. ‘We are an undersized team on the blocks. We just have to get back to defending like we been practicing for the last few months. Its on everyone to be accountable on that end because its more about heart than ability!
, added Quentin Pryor.
However since the strong start, Phoenix Hagen hit a slump losing nine of the next 10 games and have been under 500 since the lightening start with a record of 9-15. Some people were whispering playoffs in the first weeks, but that dream was quickly doused. Despite their current dry spell, Phoenix Hagen is a team that one can not underestimate. They are a team that know how to score averaging 85 points a game. ‘Phoenix Hagen is a fast paced team that bring a lot of energy each night. They can score in bunches and had a great scheme this season. Their strength is their guards. At times, they have three guards bringing the ball up the court. They are always dangerous on the transition, are all a threat at the three point line and are always attacking’, stressed John Bynum. ‘We have so many weapons on the offensive end which makes it hard to concentrate on stopping one player’, added Quentin Pryor. Phoenix Hagen might not have had anything to do with the BEKO BBL playoffs last season and The Brose Baskets Bamberg played them twice this season and despite winning both games have a lot of respect for the gang of Ingo Fryer. ‘Phoenix Hagen play a unique style of basketball and it is something that each opponent has to get adjusted to in order to be successful. They had a few injuries making things very difficult, but they are a good and dangerous team’, warned Brose Baskets Bamberg American Kyle Hines. The question remains why was Phoenix Hagen unable to be a playoff team this season? ‘I think they just had a lot of bad luck and the injury to Eddie Seward hurt them for a lot of games in the first half. He makes so much of a difference for them with his interior defense’, stated John Bynum. The biggest problem is their defense. Even if they were able to put up 80-85 points, they still lost by more points. In games where Phoenix Hagen scored 80 points or more and still lost happened 11 times. They have given up 80 or more points 21 times. Why did the team give up so many points on a consistent rate? ‘I think once again it had to do with there interior defense. They play at a fast pace and they are a team of runs, but even so they have the guards that can play defense, but if you made them play defense I dont think it was a high priority on their list’, added John Bynum. Teams also have hurt them much under the boards. ‘I think in the inside because I think the only down low defender is Eddie Seward and without him I think they struggle. They can put points up but he does so many little things for them’, warned John Bynum.
Phoenix Hagen is led by Quentin Pryor who is a 27 year old 193cm shooting guard/small forward from Eupora, Mississippi and is playing his second season with Phoenix Hagen. He started his college basketball career at Jackson State, before finishing at Morehead State from 2005-2007. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging11.4ppg, 4.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3Pts: 36.8%, FT: 71.7%. In 2007, he started his professional basketball career in Germany with FC Schalke 04 playing 29 games and averaging 15.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.2apg, Steals-1 (2.5spg), FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 75.2%. In 2008-2009 for Phoenix Hagen, he played 30 games averaging 14.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.5%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 75.2. Last season, he played 33 games: 8.8ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 72.9%He is a good defender and very athletic on the wing, added Will Chavis. This season, he is averaging 11,5ppg, 3,5rpg and 2,3apg. He has scored in double figurers 17 times. He has improved each season in Germany and is really becoming into a top BEKO BBL player that is ignited by his never want to lose mentality. Mark Dorris is a 188 cm guard playing in Germany in the BEKO BBL for Phoenix Hagen. He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and visited Princeton high school. He then attended St. Catharine College for a year before transfering to Marshall where he played from 2005-2008. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 39.1%, 3Pts: 34.3%, FT: 75.9%.For Cuxhaven, he played 29 games: 18.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.7apg, Steals-3 (2.3spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 77.3%. This season, Mark Dorris has not had any difficulty adjusting to the BEKO BBL as he has led the league in scoring for a while and excited with his very athletic play. He has scored in double figurers 24 times including 35 points against EnBW Ludwigsburg and 30 points against BBC Bayreuth. Currently he is averaging 15,3ppg, 3,2rpg and 3,6apg.
A big surprise this season has been Jacob Burtschi who is a 26 year old 198cm forward that is a BEKO BBL rookie. He is an American that comes from Chickasha, Oklahoma. He played at Air Force from 2003-2007 and in his senior year, he played 35 games avergaing13.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3Pts: 39.0%, FT: 77.3%. He reached the NIT Final 4 in 2007. He stayed in the air force for three years before deciding to try the pro ranks. Considering that he came to Hagen on a try out and is averaging 14,3ppg; 6,8rpg and 2,6apg, he has been one of the biggest surprises so far in the BEKO BBL. He is shooting 51,1% from the field and 43,7% from outside and just dazzling the league so far. ‘It is definitely a little strange being a 26 year old rookie but im happy that I have the opportunity to play. I had a commitment to the Air Force, served my time, and now I have an opportunity to chase a childhood dream’, said Jacob Burtschi. Not playing three years since his senior year at Air Force has not been easy, but he hasnt been a bust in anyway. ‘It’s definitely not the same, but you take what your given and work with it. I am putting a lot of pressure on myself. I left a good life in the Air Force to chase a dream and I always wonder if I am kidding myself trying to leave and come compete in such a tough league. I could surprise some people in this league or I could be a bust”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. A strength in the game of Jacob Burtschi is his ability to read defenses and put himself or his teammates in a position to score. He has scored in double figurers 25 times
Phoenix Hagen might have gotten some luck in disguise as their first choice point guard Ryan Appleby became home sick and suddenly left, because they had to react and find another point guard and did with David Bell who has been a great addition for the club. Bell is a 29 year old 186cm combo guard from Oakland that can hit the three with ease. This season, he hit 9/10 three pointers against Bremerhaven. He assaults any game he plays in and can penetrate and dish with the best. Offensively can carry a team, also is a top defender. He played at Montana (NCAA) from 2001-2003. In his senior year, he averaged 17,6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg. In his career, he has played in Europe in countries like Switzerland, France and Finland. He also has played in various leagues in the States. The last two years, he played for the Dakota Wizards (D-League). Last season, he played 51 games averaging 12.5ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 36.4%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 87.1%. He was All-Star Game 2007 (3-Points Contest Winner) and D-League Central Division Champion in 2008. This season, he is leading the team in scoring averaging 16,3ppg, 2,3rpg and 3,6apg and has scored in double figurers 24 times.
Zgyimantas Jonusas is playing his second season for Phoenix Hagen and third in the BEKO BBL. He is a 28 year old 200cm forward from Lithuania. He is a very dangerous three pointer that can beat his defender off the dribble. He can score in many ways and can get to the rim of make the deadly pass. He also knows how to get o the free throw line and is a very good free throw shooter. He already played professionally in Poland for MKS Pruszkow (Poland-PLK) at the age of 20. He played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven from 2006-2009. His best season was his first season as he played 38 games: 11.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.5apg, 2FGP: 52.7%, 3FGP: 40.1%, FT: 79.8%. Last season, he played games 13 games for Phoenix Hagen averaging 12,8ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 69.0%. Currently he is averaging 12,8ppg, 4,1rpg and 1,3apg. He has scored in double figurers 18 times. 34 year old 210 cm center Bernd Kruel has played most of his career in Hagen starting with Brandt in 1993, but leaving in January 2004 as the team folded. He got rewarded by winning a BBL title with the Opel Skyliners. After playing some years in Frankfurt and Bonn, he came back to Hagen in 2008-2009 helping the team get back into the BEKO BBL. He may not be the youngest anymore, but he will bang with anyone and can still play at a very high level. Last season, he played 32 games averaging 7.4ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 69.0%.His quickness, leaping ability, shot selection and rebounding are his main strength. He is a good athlete, can shoot, can dribble and plays inside and outside. He played in the BEKO BBL Allstar game in 2000, reached the BEKO BBL Cup final in 2002 and 2004 and was a BEKO BBL finalist in 2005 and 2008 with The Telekom Baskets Bonn. Currently, he is averaging 6,1ppg and 3,3rpg.
25 year old 206cm power forward/center Matt Terwilliger is playing his first season with Phoenix Hagen. His claim to fame was being back up to 2008 NBA #1 draft pick Greg Oden of the Portland Trailblazers at Ohio State from 2004-2008. He played for the Webmoebel baskets from 2008-2010 playing 66 games in the two years. Last season, he played 34 games averaging 8.0ppg, 5.3rpg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 74.1%. He reached the NCAA final in 2007 and won the NIT final in 2008. Terwilliger is a great shooter from anywhere in the gym. He will attack you with pull up jumpers and with the pick and pop. I think that he learned a lot being the back up to Greg Oden. It really helped him to be around him. He has found his niche at the position four and the Paderborn system works well for him, stressed David Teague. Terwilliger also was Big Ten Regular Season Champion in 2006, Big Ten Tournament Finalist 2006, Big Ten Regular Season Winner 2007 and Big Ten Tournament Winner 2007. This season, Terwilliger is averaging 5,4ppg and 3,1rpg and has scored in double figurers eight times. The glue that keeps Phoenix Hagen together under the basket is 32 year old 206cm center Eddie Seward. He played at Norfolk State and then started his professional basketball career in Germany. He toiled around in the German Regionaliga for Aschersleben Tigers BC from 2004-2007 before moving up to the PRO A playing for BG Karlsruhe, Cuxhaven and BBC Bayreuth. In teh 2008-209 season, he showed that he could play at the PRO A level playing for Cuxhaven and making great stats of 11.3ppg, Reb-1 (10.4rpg), Blocks-4 (1.4bpg), FGP-1 (70.6%), FT: 56.9% in 30 games. Last season for BBC Bayreuth, he played games 30 games averaging 8.2ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 60.9%, FT: 62.2%. He got his big break this season to play in the BEKO BBL averaging 4,4ppg and 5,1rpg.. The club also has talented Germans Malte Schwartz (1,2ppg) and Dominik Spohr (1,9ppg) who are both 21 years old fighting for playing time .
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have to regroup after the horrifying fourth place finish at the Top 4 in Bamberg last weekend. The question is how well will the club be able to forget this fizzle in their strong season? ‘Frankfurt will be able to recover. It was just a couple of bad games and it will be in the back of their mind as soon as they step on the court next game’, warned John Bynum. There is one spectacular part of the Skyliner game that the team needs to recover again. ‘Phoenix Hagen is a greatoffensive team. When they get in a rhythm, their confidence grows. We have to disrupt this rhythm and play Skyliner defensive basketball again’, warned Dashaun Wood. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners swept the season series with Phoenix Hagen stomping all over them in Hagen 93-64 as Derrick Allen led alls corers with 22 points, Aubrey Resse chipped in with 18 points and Grayson Moyer had one of his best games as a Skyliner with 15 points and five assists. In the return game in Frankfurt, Phoenix Hagen lost 89-76. Skyliner captain Pascal Roller led Frankfurt with 18 points and five assists and Derrick Allen produced 17 points. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners outrebounded Phoenix Hagen 66-49 in both games. This season, Phoenix Hagen is averaging 33 rebounds per game. The team didnt have Eddie Seward in the first game against Frankfurt, but the big man is back in the line up and has played in 10 of the last 11 games. Seward brings a lot to the table rebounding and on defense. He also keeps a lot of balls alive on offense. He is a true banger and does the dirty work which often goes unnoticed’, warned John Bynum. ‘All of our big men bring something different to the table. They are not the same so we are satisfied with them’, warned Quentin Pryor. In the first meeting this season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners won 90-85 powered by 19 points from ex Skyliner Jermaine Bucknor and 15 points, five rebounds and six assists despite taking only five shots. It was a very tight game in the fourth quarter, but Bucknor hit two big three pointers to seal the win. For Phoenix Hagen to be successful they have to do like Forrest Gump and run run run run! ‘Hagen has to keep game at high tempo. They play their best when they are running and pressing’, stressed Kyle Hines. ‘Hagen has to defend and turn the game into an up and down battle. They also have to control Dashaun Wood who has had his way the last games and make other players beat them and they must get easy baskets and speed up the game ‘, warned John Bynum. Frankfurt can play transition with the best of them, but might want to let just Wood and Mark Dorris do the running in their own little duel. ‘Frankfurt should slow down game and play more organized style of basketball, limit turnovers and take good shots. Frankfurt has the advantage down low, because Hagen is not as deep there and Seward is out. They also have to watch the three guards Mark Dorris, Bell and Pryor, because they are a huge part of their success’, warned Kyle Hines. ‘Frankfurt has to stop the Hagen transition and make them play a half court game and control their pick and role’, warned John Bynum. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host Phoenix Hagen April 8th at 19:30.