When Dominik Bahiense De Mello comes out of the runway and enters the Fraport arena he wont go right, but left to warm up and will be wearing the untypical yellow and blue which will get some getting used to like it is not see Charlie Sheen and his womanizing ways on Two and a half men, seeing Manuel Neuer in a Bayern Munich jersey and not Schalke uniform or thinking actor Nicholas Cage could be a vampire and have been around during the American civil war as an antique picture was revealed of a man that has a scary resemblance to the Con Air man. De Mello played 6 years in Frankfurt for 6 different coaches and who could forget his strong performance in a 2005 game in the Festhalle in a loss to Bonn or his 19 point effort in a 80-81 loss to Alba Berlin in game one of the playoffs last season. It is no secret that De Mello didn´t always have an easy time playing for Murat Didin, but as new coach Gordon Herbert took the reigns in April 2010, the tide started to turn for the Bonn native. Last season, his first full season for Herbert, De Mello started many games averaging 17,2 minutes per game and 5.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 76.9%. At 26 years of age, the German has matured well, but how well will he come to terms with the style, mentality and moods of head coach Predrag Krunic? “Dominik will make it in Oldenburg. I feel that he will play a good role. He will get his minutes and know how to use them best. He has so much talent and he will gain the confidence of Krunic once he shows his aggressive defense”, stressed Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. De Mello wont have it any easier in Oldenburg as he did in Frankfurt fighting for playing time as his new team went on a successful shopping spree this summer it will depend how the German shows up to play. “De Mello has a new situation and a good team. I don´tknow what his role will be, but it is up to him how he will show is talent best”, warned Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak. I think Domink will do great in that system. He just has to play his game and he will be a key piece this season. he is a solid back up and will give them a shooter and play solid defense as well”, added TBB Trier guard John Bynum. On October 3, the Fraport arena will see De Mello again and just hope that his three pointer isn´t on fire.
Since their amazing 2009 Beko BBl title where they beat Bonn in a nail biting 5th game 71-70, the team has reached the playoffs the last two years, but for fans and critics have stayed behind their expectations losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs each time. Last season, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg finished the season in sixth place with a record of 20-14. The teams biggest wins last season were sweeping the Artland Dragons and wins against Frankfurt, Bremerhaven and Goettingen, but were swept by Bamberg and Alba Berlin. Oldenburg had done a good job again with getting strong individual players, but had no real knowledge of team basketball. In the Beko BBL playoffs, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg showed a spirited fight against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin coming back after being in the hole 0-2, they won the next two games including an exciting 80-79, win in game 4, but then had no power left in their thunderbird wings as they were destroyed 99-68 in the 0-2 arena.
After a serious house cleaning last year, they have felt content to do it again this season as 10 players left. The first order of business was keeping 29 year old Rickey Paulding(12.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 79.5%)who will be playing his 5th season in Oldenburg, brought back 28 year old 207cm Serb Miljan Mastorovic who played in the ACB last season for Assignia Manresa playing 33 games: 6.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 64.9% who was the three point killer who was instrumental in the 2009 championship for Oldenburg and 24 year old 208cm German /Dutch Robin Schmeulders(: EuroCup: 6 games: 5.3ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 55.0%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 17 games: 2.6ppg, 1.6rpg). “Just looking at their roster, you know that they will be at the top. They will belong to the top”, warned Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak. This season, they have brought in strong players again led by Bobby Brown who brings 108 NBA games experience. The club hopes some of his albatross magic from the 2008 Beko BBL title will still be with him and rub off on the Thunderbirds team. One never knows exactly what Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin is thinking, but his eye brows rose after describing the unending capabilities of Oldenburg. “Oldenburg have improved their inside game. Oldenburg is aiming high and are a top 4 team for me. They are simply impressive on paper”, warned Muli Katzurin. “Oldenburg will be very solid this season. The addition of Brown gives them a steady scoring pg, and Chubb brings a low post pressence and a very good leader on and off the court. They will have a lot of success”, warned John Bynum.
One of the biggest signings this summer in the Beko BBL was Bobby Brown. Brown is a 28 year old 188cm guard from Los Angeles that is a very athletic combo guard with great scoring and leaping ability. He brings 108 NBA games experience having played for the Kings, Timberwolves, Hornets and Clippers. Last season, he played for Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland-PLK): 4 games: 23.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.3apg, 1.8spg; Polish League: Euroleague: 6 games: 10.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 87.5%; Polish League: VTB League: 5 games: 12.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 38.5%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 56.3%; left in Dec.’10, same month moved to Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1, starting five): Greek League: 29 games: 11.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 67.9%; EuroCup: 9 games: 14.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 75.0% . The club hopes some of his Albatross magic from the 2008 Beko BBL title will still be with him and rub off on the Thunderbirds team. “Brown has a nice resume. He won his only time in Germany with Alba Berlin and he will want it again with Oldenburg. He is a top level player with NBA experience. He is tough to guard and with all the players around him like Paulding makes it all the more difficult”, stressed Muli Katzurin. When Skyliner captain Marius Nolte hears the name Bobby Brown only the basketball player comes to mind. “Brown is an excellent player and his name stands for success. We will see how well he can lead Oldenburg. When I hear his name I don’t think about the singer Bobby Brown. That is not my kind of music”, joked Marius Nolte. “Bobby Brown the singer comes to mind for sure, but when you step on the court all the thoughts about the singer go to rest because his game does the talking. As far as the song goes I would say my prerogative cause at times it seems that he does what he wants to do”, joked John Bynum.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg added a lot of substance this summer getting some ex Beko BBL players with Adam Chubb and Ronald Burrell. Chubb is a 30 year old 208cm power forward/center from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that is a Very athletic big man, runs the floor extremely well. Sound fundamental player who has good hands, fine low-post presence and is a good passer to players who are open or cutting to the basket. Can defend a center in the low-post as well as a power forward perimeter player. He will be starting his 8th professional season and 6th in Germany.After starting his professional basketball career in Korea in 2004, he then played in Germany for Giessen, Bremerhaven, Artland and Alba Berlin before getting some valuable experience last season for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-ACB): 34 games: 7.4ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 52.0%, FT: 69.4%. He won a Beko BBL cup for Artland and Alba Berlin. Ronald Burrell is a 28 year old 204cm power forward from Montclair, New Jersey. After an NCAA career at North Carolina-Greensboro, he came to Europe in 2005 to France to play for Levallois SCB. He then came to Germany and played for Rhein Energy Cologne and the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He then played for Polish Euroleague team Asseco Prokom Gdynia winning 3 Polish titles and amassing 45 Euroleague games. Last season, he played Euroleague: 9 games: 3.7ppg, 3.4rpg; Polish League: 34 games: 5.8ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 73.8%. The team also got talented Kenny Hasbrouck who is a 25 year old 191 cm guard from Capital heights, Maryland who is a smooth, mature, creative off guard, plays game with great confidence, composure and pace, tremendous all-around talent with great leadership qualities and is a big game player. The American played at Siena and will be playing his third professional season after playing in the D-league and last season playing for the Miami heat in preseason before playing for Meridiano Alicante in the ACB playing 20 games: 10.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 74.3%.
Predrag Krunic mostly has had the right feel for getting the right players from the east block and might have found another player with Sead Sehovic who is a 22 year old 199cm forward that is most likely the most talented young player in Montenegro for his At 201cm he plays equally well at PG, SG, and SF. Can dunk the basketball almost from the free throw line at age of 17. Has great handles for his size and can score from anywhere on the court. Can shoot in transition, off the dribble, and off the catch. He played for top Montenegro team BC Buducnost Podgorica since 2007 and last season played Adriatic League: 26 games: 5.9ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 77.6%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 8.5ppg, 1.5rpg. The club also hauled in Germans Jannik Fresse and Christopher Razis. Freese who is 211cm is a Beko BBL veteran at the age of 25.He played many years in Braunschweig, but never getting a real chance to showcase his talent until he got to Giessen in 2008. In the last 3 years, he played 76 beko BBL games and last season averaged 4,1ppg and 2,7rpg. The team also brought in Razis who is a 22 year old 193cm guard that was born in Switzerland, but also has the Cyprus citizenship. He is a point guard who can play at the off guard as well. Nice ball handler with good Point guard abilities. He has very high level Basketball IQ, he can always find the open man in offence. He can hit the 3-pointer as well as the two pointer from any given spot in the court. Christopher has excellent attitude on and off the floor. He is very coach able and basketball lover he can work out many hours per day as he really targets the sport and he sees him self seriously into the court, in the short term future. He is persistence and always optimist in and out of the court. He is perfectionist and tries always to get the maximum out of his ability. He needs to improve his defense, especially on the man-to-man. Last season, he played for Keravnos Strovolou (Cyprus-Division A): Cyprus League: 2 games: 0pts, 1.5rpg; : EuroChallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 0pts, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg, in Nov.’10 moved to Ydra Asfalistiki ENAD Agios Dometios (Cyprus-Division A): 10 games: 3.8ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.0apg, 1.0spg.
The Fraport Skyliners start a new era as they begin the 2011-2012 Beko BBl season with their third new sponsor name Fraport after having Opel and Deutsche Bank previously. Last season as the Deutsche Bank Skyliners, the club finished their 12th season losing in the semi finals in five games to Alba Berlin. Even though it was a team effort, a lot of the load lied on the shoulders of 2011 beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood. In early summer, Frankfurt fans were hoping that Wood and Gordon Herbert would stay for another season, but instead Herbert fled to Berlin who couldn´t resist the wallet of Marco Baldi and Wood soon followed. For new coach Muli Katzurin who led Nymburk to 4 league and cup titles in the Czech Republic and was a hair away from leading Alba Berlin to the 2011 beko BBL title, success is his middle name. “We want to play a nice style so people will want to come see us play. Each player has been working hard and giving their best effort. The rest will follow with time. It takes time to build a new team and team chemistry”, stressed Muli Katzurin. “I think Frankfurt will have a great season. They did lose Dashaun Wood but they kept some key pieces to last seasons team. Mckinney is a steady player and does so many things for that team that didnt get noticed last season because of the success that Wood had”, stressed John Bynum. The Fraport Skyliners have had a successful preseason record of 7-2 and giving the young German PRO B players the chance to get involved has been very important. “It is really great that they can get the experience to practice at the top level. I felt very old in practice having 6 19 year olds standing around me”, joked Marius Nolte. “The PRO B players have been a huge help in practice”, added Kamil Novak. The Fraport Skyliners have shown in preseason that when their ball movement is flowing that the sky is the limit in the amount of points that they can score. “I think that we can average 80 points this season, but it is important that the opponent scores less. Our offense and defense are not at the same level now. We have to improve our defense. We are lacking toughness and the players don’t know the system so well yet, but I see good signs. It takes time”, warned Muli Katzurin.
The Fraport Skyliners kept a healthy core of players from last season including new captain Marius Nolte(EuroCup Qualifying Round: 2 games: 4.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0spg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 5.2ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 55.6%, FT: 61.1%; German League: 42 games: 5.1ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 56.1%, FT: 71.4%). “Marius is the best captain. It is not always good to say good things when that person is sitting next to me. He is a veteran and excellent team player. He always works hard and shows a great example for the young players. For me it is just natural that he is captain”, commented Muli Katzurin. Quantez Super Tez Robertson(EuroChallenge: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 38 games: 7.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 29.1%, FT: 68.9%) and Jimmy slick and suave Mckinney(EuroCup Qualifying Round: 2 games: 12.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.0apg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 8.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 36.0%, 3PT: 43.5%; German League: 37 games: 9.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 79.4%. The team brought in German national player Johannes Herber who is a 28 year old 197cm guard from Darmstadt that is a big SG, great 3-points shooter, with a strong body. Scores the most of his points from the perimeter, but his bulk allow him to battle inside, and this is why he’s a good rebounder too. Defends well, even because he’s got a great knowledge of the game. He played at West Virginia(NCAA) where he reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 2005 and NCAA Sweet 16 in 2006. He then played for Alba Berlin from 2006-2009, but was plagued by injuries playing only 63 Beko BBL games. Last season, he played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen playing 34 games: 6.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 66.7%. The club got German national player Tim Ohlbrecht who is a 23 year old 211cm forward from Wuppertal. He is a has excellent fundamentals, very good shooting mechanics, has a nice frame, with big, strong shoulders. He is very versatile and can play any of the 2-5 positions, exceptional at running the floor. Tim is an explosive leaper with quickness and athleticism, he hits the three consistently when left open He is an athletic shot-blocker with good timing, finishes well around the basket. He has a nice repertoire of moves in the paint. Lastly he possesses good vision and passing skills. He started his basketball career with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen where he already played BBL at age 17. He then went to Bamberg and played with Bonn the last two seasons, but his stats dipped last season to 6.7ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 33.3%. He has a contract until December with an option and to hear that this might be his last chance at 23 sounds disheartening. “he was in the final with Bonn and can still develop much. I don´t know if it is his last chance, but I know that he has a very big chance in Frankfurt to get his career going again”, warned Kamil Novak.
With the departure of Dashaun Wood, the Fraport Skyliners had to find a new point guard and did With Justin Gray. Gray is a 27 year old 188cm guard from Charlotte, North Carolina that is versatile enough to excel at point guard as well as the big guard. An enthusiastic, high-energy guard who brings a swagger to the team. he is a team vocal leader, possesses great quickness and is an exceptional perimeter shooter. He played at Wake Forest playing with NBa superstar Chris paul and played the last years in Belgium, Poland, Czech Republick, Greece and recently for Guangzhou Free Man (China-NBL, starting five): 9 games: 24.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.0apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 37.8%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 85.4%. It didn´t hurt that Katzurin had coached Gray for Nymburk. “The point guard is the most important position on the court. It is important that he can play the position one and two. It is important that a player is like two players. He is a special player for me, because he has the right attitude. He understands the game and has gathered more experience in the last years. He has a great basketball IQ and very important is that he is unselfish. He could score 40 points a night, but he shares the ball and takes what the defense gives him”, stressed Muli Katzurin. “Gray knows Katzurin and knows the system of coach exactly. Gray has shown in the test games how important he has become.Wood was an unbelievable good player. Gray is at similar level. Gray has shown that he can score and also be a good playmaker. Gray doesn´t have to hide behind Wood”, added Marius Nolte. The club also got Jermario Davidson who is a 26 year old 208cm forward/center from Atlanta, Georgia. He played at Alabama (NCAA) from 2003-2007. He then was drafted by the Golden State Warriors and played 50 NBA games for the Bobcats and Warriors. Since then he has played in countries like Turkey, Puerto Rico and most recently Krasnie Krilya Samara (Russia-PBL): Russian League: 7 games: 4.6ppg, 4.0rpg; EuroCup: 4 games: 9.8ppg, 4.3rpg, left in Dec.’10, same month moved to Idaho Stampede (D-League): 30 games: 15.3ppg, Reb-3(10.1rpg), 1.5bpg, FGP: 52.2%, FT: 75.9%. The club also signed Jon Leuer who is a Beko BBL rookie who is a 22 year old 208 cm forward from Long Lake, Minnesota who is a solid power forward that has great team mentality and defensive smartness. Knows how to score (and to gain fouls) in the low post, has a good outside shooting too. He played at Wisconsin (NCAA) from 2007-2011 and in his senior year played 34 games 18.3ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 84.3%. recently, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round at position 40. There is a clause in his contract stating if the NBA resumes that he is free to go if a team wants him. The team recently gave try-out player Michael Thompson a contract until the end of December2011. Thompson is a 23 year old 177cm guard from Chicago, Illinois who played at Northwestern from 2007-2011. In his senior year, he played 34 games: 16.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 82.5%. Interesting to note that he nearly shot over 40% his whole career except for his senior year. The club also signed young German Danilo Barthel who is a 19 year old 206cm forward. He played at USC Heidelberg from 2008-2011 and last season played 14 games: 4.8ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.0apg.
When the 2011 beko BBl season kicks off on Monday October 3rd, not only basketball will be on the minds of fans, but also the day of the German unification. “It never matters to me when we play, but this is the first game of the season and it is important to get off to a good start. I remember when I was a child and telling me to come to the TV saying that this day will be in the history books one day. I am so happy about one Germany. It was the right decision”, expressed Marius Nolte. “As for me it is something special to play on a day like this. It is a meaningful day in Germany and being American i feel that we should adapt to the culture surrounding us. It is a special day not just for Germany but around the world as well”, commented John Bynum.The Fraport Skyliners will be very excited to finally get going, but may feel some pressure about winning their first game with the new sponsor against the tough EWE Baskets Oldenburg. “There will be a lot of emotion in this game. We will fight and present ourselves as a team”, stressed Kamil Novak. As captain, Marius Nolte exactly what to tell his team in the pre game huddle. “We will play with a high intensity and a lot of passion. Our goal is to be mentally strong. The team that wants it more will win”, warned Marius Nolte. Frankfurt is unbelievably deep and solid at each position and if they can get their ball movement going at any time, then they will put many points on the board. Key to winning the first game will be keeping Bobby Brown in check and controlling the rebounds which should be a strength this season with so many bigs. The game will also feature the return of De Mello and its always a delight to see the two friends from Missouri(NCAA) Mckinney and Paulding go head to head to achieve bragging rights for another year.The Fraport Skyliners host the EWE Baskets Oldenburg October 3rd, at 17:00.