Back in the late 80s, Boston native singer Bobby Brown was on top of the world celebrating world hits like Don´t Be Cruel, My Prerogative, Every Little Step, and Roni, while another Bobby Brown, the basketball player was more likely studying the moves and head to head duels of Magic Johnson and Isah Thomas than the dance moves of the ex new Edition singer. Bobby Brown never again found that success in the billboard charts in the 90s while Bobby Brown the basketball player matured as a basketball player and kept having success on the court and leading Alba Berlin to the Beko BBL title in 2008 and is now back in the German league and led the EWE Baskets Oldenburg past the Fraport Sklyiners 72-53 in the opening game of the new season. The Frankfurt defense had relinquished an average of 84 points in the last 3 test games and knew that they would have to have their A game if they wanted to hear Thunderbird Bobby Brown possibly squeal the famous words Don’t be cruel like a disillusioned little puppy would to his master after not getting a juicy bone for its birthday, but Bobby Brown was able to do what he wanted to on the court bring calmness into the Oldenburg offense and not letting the Frankfurt defense be cruel to him. “I had to be cruel today. I brought the whole package today. I got guys involved and hit my shots”, said ex NBA player Bobby Brown. Frankfurt had problems getting the Oldenburg offense to stutter whenever Brown ha dthe balls in his hands. “Brown is a great player who can shoot the ball and has good moves. He is tough to defend”, stressed Skyliner guard Quantez Robertson. “We don’t kid Bobby about the singer Bobby Brown. I think he is too young to know who he is. Our Borwn was cruel for us today. When he is penetrating and hitting his shots is when the team is at its best”, added 2004 Detroit Pistons NBA draft pick Ricky Paulding. “He was very cruel to us and controlled the game. I played against him in Greece. He is a quick athlete that can have big games. Tonight he didn´t have to make the big plays”, added Skyliner guard Justin Gray. The Fraport Skyliners had a horrible shooting day at the office which a team cant do against a strong team like Oldenburg and expect to win. “This was a tough game where we couldn´t get anything going on offense which I think transformed over to our defense. They pressured us all night and played well on offense and defense”, added Justin Gray. The EWE baskets Oldenburg played a very consistent game not allowing Frankfurt to take control. “We had a lot of trust in our system. We played very hard defense and just worked well together as a unit”, commented Bobby Brown.
The game also marked the farwell of Skyliner legend Pascal Roller who had his number #11 forever retired and hoisted to the rafters and long time Skyliner Dominik Bahiense De Mello made his return back home after having played 6 years on the main in Frankfurt. Pascal Roller who won the German Beko BBL title in 2004 over Bamberg and won a silver medal at the 2005 European championships and a bronze medal at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis played 11 seasons for the Skyliners and was a household name and as cherished in the Frankfurt basketball community as Gummy Bears are for kids. Roller came out on the floor in a grey suit with his family and quickly the memories of the last 11 years started to pop into the heads of many. The thought of wanting to have Pascal Roller slip out of his suit and come onto the floor probably entered into the heads of many in the second half as no shots were falling for the Fraport Skyliners. During the presentation, Roller received a friendly farwell message from 2011 NBA champion and ex teammate in the German National team Dirk Nowitzki and a short speech from Skyliner owner Gunnar Wobke. The last time De Mello played a game in the Ballsporthalle was 4 months ago as his season ended in game 5 against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin. Throughout the last 6 years, there always seemed to be minor riffs between the Bonn native and management, but at the end of the day, he always remained a Skyliner. For De Mello to move to Oldenburg seemed like a small surprise since head coach Predrag Krunic is not the easiest coach to play for, but then again his move to the north was also seen with thumbs up as the German showed he was not wimping out and jumping to the easiest challenge, but taking a harder challenge and continue to develop in a competitive environment. De Mello played 15 minutes contributing 5 points and five rebounds and was in good spirits after the game. “The league couldn´t have chosen a better place to have our first game than being at the ceremony of Pascal Roller. Seeing the ceremony of Pascal was very emotional and I am happy that I could see it. I felt good tonight and my self confidence continues to grow. I did what was needed in the minutes I got playing hard defense and hitting my shots”, expressed Dominik Bahiesne De Mello. Oldenburg CEO Herman Schuller also was pleased with the basketball work of De Mello. “De Mello stood his ground on defense. He came from the bench and fulfilled his role. He is becoming into a good sixth man for our team”, stated Herman Schuller.
The Fraport Skyliners started a new era and the pre game festivities were quite impressive as well with a mini Skyliner movie and new dance team routines with a flair from the airport, but as soon as the game started, the new slogan ready for takeoff seemed to linger and linger throughout the game since the Fraport Skyliners never really got going and seemed to be overtaken at the runway for takeoff never really getting off the ground. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg jumped off to a quick 7-0 lead as ex Miami Heat Kenny Hasbrouck scored inside, Bobby Brown dropped a three pointer and Adam Chubb nailed two free throws. The Fraport Skyliners seemed to have a nasty dose of too much motivation which led to easy mistakes. Someone had to take control and that was Justin Gray who got into the lane twice scoring and drawing a foul as Frankfurt trailed only 9-4. Quantez Robertson then scored on a layup as Frankfurt was coming back trailing only 9-6. However Oldenburg had a calm and collective offense run by Bobby Brown and laods of offensive options and weapons which Frankfurt wasn´t showing. Brown then showed his passing qualities feeding Chubb with a beautiful no look lob pass for two easy points. On the next Oldenburg possession, Brown went coast to coast as Oldenburg led 13-6. Ronnie Burrell then showed he can always be a threat from outside if left open as he nailed a three pointer. Oldenburg led 16-7 with a few minutes remaining in the first quarter. However Frankfurt showed some life at the end of the quarter going on a 7-2 run to trail only 18-14 after one quarter. Justin Gray was doing his Dashaun Wood impersonation scoring in bunches and Jimmy Mckinney nailed a buzzer beater three pointer. “Frankfurt seemed to have some butterflies inside at the start with too much energy. They let up some easy baskets. They then settled down and Gray started to make shots”, expressed Fraport Skyliner PRO B player Demetrius Jemison. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 37% from the field and 29% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 25% from outside. Oldenburg had the 12-9 rebound edge and only one turnover while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners started off the second quarter focused and took their first lead of the game due to a 6-0 run to lead 20-18. 20 year old German Danilo Barthel was inserted by Muli Katzurin and didn´t waste any time showing that he has Beko BBL quality as he scored inside in traffic after getting a pretty pass from Gray. Barthel gave his debut in the beko BBL and was one of the better Skyliners finishing with eight points in 11 minutes. “I was a bit nervous when I came in, but as soon as I made the shot and got the and one, I felt better. I am very happy that coach has the trust in me to give me minutes”, expressed Danilo Barthel. Both teams then traded the lead as Hasbrouck made two free throws and 2011 Milwaukee Bucks draft pick Jon Leuer got out on the fast break grabbing a nice outlet pass from Robertson and dunking as Frankfurt led 22-21, but that would be their last lead of the game. Oldenburg then raced out on a 6-0 run to lead 27-22. One thing you have to keep an eye on is the Oldenburg fast break and here and there they were able to get behind Frankfurt and produce transition points as Hasbrouck scored and ex Skyliner De Mello didn´t hesitate nailing a three pointer. Oldenburg continued to have option after option and Frankfurt only had Justin Gray who was a scoring option. Gray made two three pointers as Frankfurt trailed only 31-28, but Frankfurt continued to be unstable on offense not getting consecutive stops as Oldenburg finished the second quarter with a 7-2 run to go into halftime with a 38-30 lead. Brown hit another three pointer and Paulding and Burrell used their athletic talent scoring inside. “The Skyliners were still figuring each other out. Frankfurt only had production from Gray and Mckinney while Oldenburg was spreading the ball around. Frankfurt was giving up too many offensive rebounds”, stressed Demetrious Jemison. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 45% from the field and 33% from the three point line while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Oldenburg still had the rebound edge 20-15 and only five turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
After the less than satisfactory first half, one might have expected the Fraport Skyliners to process the Muli Katzurin half time speech into something positive, but the team let Oldenburg increase the lead and seemed possibly a bit less lackluster for whatever reason. The EWE Baskets stormed out on a 12-4 run to lead comfortably 50-34. After Oldenburg got out on a 5-0 run with a three pointer by Brown and a Burrell lay up, they would show short spurts of solid basketball as Mckinney scored inside and Robertson made a steal and went coast to coast for the bucket, but all in all Frankfurt was too harmless on defense and lacked physical play. Paulding then nailed two consecutive three pointer erasing the mini Skyliner run. Oldenburg kept getting to the free throw line and getting inside as Frankfurt was begging for some production from others and finally got a Joe Herber three pointer, but Frankfurt still trailed 54-40. Serb Milan Majstorovic finaly got into the stat sheet making a floater from the wing and Brown made another three pointer showing his quick release as another one of his many offensive attributes. After three quarters The EWE Baskets Oldenburg still led now even bigger with 61-43 as there seemed to be no Skyliner comeback flight in sight. “We didn´t execute well on offense or defense in the third quarter”, stressed Quantez Robertson. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 48% from the field and 42% from the parking lot while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 37% from the field and 26% from the parking lot. Oldenburg was still leading the rebound duel 27-21 and had eight turnovers while Frankfurt had 13 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, The Fraport Skyliners had very much ground to cover to get back into the game, but the basketball god just wasn´t letting any shots fall as the home team continued to struggle as in and outs was high on the menu on this day. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg outscored Frankfurt 11-10. Jon Leuer had some strong moments in the last quarter getting an ally-op dunk feed from Robertson and making a tip in off a Robertson miss as Oldenburg still had a 69-49 lead and all the flair and noise that had erupted prior to the game now seemed to be erased. De Mello scored inside and Barthel scored inside again as it seemed like the Fraport Skyliners just wanted to get the game over with and Oldenburg players already had their bus ride back in their heads and what would be playing on their I-Pods. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg had a well deserved 72-53 win, but it’s a win where the players should stay grounded considering some of the factors considered. “We played a good game, but one should not overrate the win. Frankfurt was missing some players and also missed many open shots”, stressed Oldenberg CEO Herman Schuller. “We missed too many open shots and our missed second chances really hurt us. We didn´t talk enough on defense and there was no help on the screen and rolls”, commented Quantez Robertson. “A big difference today was that the load was spread on a lot of shoulders as Kenny Hasbrouck and Ronnie Burrell were a big help”, stated Dominik Bahiense De Mello.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Ronald Burrell with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Bobby Brown produced 15 points and four assists. Kenny Hasbrouck added 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Justin Gray with 15 points and three assists. Jimmy Mckinney chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. The Fraport Skyliners shot poorly with 33% from the field and a dismal 21% from outside, clearly lost the rebound battle and had an acceptable 18 turnovers which never allowed Frankfurt to find their usual rhythm and will have a lot to work on this week in preparation for the Tuebingen game this Saturday. “We have to communicate better on defense and be more aggressive on offense and defense”, warned Quantez Robertson. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen host The Fraport Skyliners on October 8th at 20:00.