Where Will The Journey Of TBB Trier End With An Added Concentration On German Players And Extra Focus On Team Defense?

The biggest successes with TBB Trier are already 13 and 10 years old as they were able to hoist the Beko BBL cup twice in 1998 and 2001, but since then the club has been as far away from consistency and the Beko BBL playoffs as Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are of reconcilatation, as any one could ever imagine Leborn James playing a pick up basketball game at a community college in his home state where they lit his jersey on fire last season after he announced going to the Miami Heat or Charlie Sheen ever will have of returning to Two and a half men after his death on the show. The last time that TBB Trier were able to taste some post season air, The Opel Skyliners were still searching for their first BEKO BBL league championship, Skyliner Justin Gray was still practicing with NBA superstar Chris Paul daily at Wake Forest, Lance Armstrong was about to win an unprecedented six consecutive Tour De France, The Montreal Expos organization was still playing in Canada before moving to play in Washington D.C and Lindsay Lohan was still far away from becoming a usual guest in the tabloids as 2004 was the last time the Mosel river club had reached the promised land as they finished at position seven. In the seven seasons since their last playoff appearance the team has averaged a 12th place finish in those years. “It has been a pity that TBB Trier hasn´t been in the playoffs for a while, but we that budget wise, we don´t belong there. It may sound crazy, but if you look at the budgets of other teams, you can see it like that. We were close last year making the playoffs and it hurt that we didn´t make it. This season we are young so making the playoffs is a big challenge”, stated TBB Trier center Maik Zirbes.


Before coach Henrik Roedl came in 2010, TBB Trier had been known to be a team that likes to acquire Americans, have talented stars like Tommy Adams, Caleb Green or Chris Copeland, but unable to put it together as a team. The team was lucky not to be deregulated in 2008 as they finished in 17th place. From 2006-2010, TBB Trier averaged to import six Americans each season, but in the 2009-2010 season, the club had only five Americans as if they had some premonition that a tall skinny German ex Tar Heel was going to come and show special and not always seen love for German players giving them impact opportunities on his team. TBB Trier always had very skilled American players, but the teams didn´t play as much team basketball. “We have never had a kind of team like we had last season and this season. We have had good people the last two years that have known how to play with each other. It is very important that each player can play with each other. We didn´t have that before Rodel came”, warned Maik Zirbes. The ex North Carolina Tar Heel also has showed his heart for developing German talent like Maik Zirbes who is on his way to becoming the top German center in the future. Since Rodel came coach, the team has learned to play defense and play more team basketball despite a slimmer budget and talent than in recent years. “Coach Roedel has done a great job giving young German players playing time which I profit from. I think that every coach in the Beko BBL should work like that. I have learned so much from him. He gave me the chance to play and let my self confidence grow. I like how he talks with me and treats me”, added Maik Zirbes.

Last season TBB Trier were on course for a playoff spot, but had some misfortune in the latter part of the season finishing in 10th place with a 17-17 record. The club lost five of their last seven games which was vital for them not reaching the promised land. Their biggest win of the season was against Oldenburg and Braunschweig and they were able to sweep The Telekom Baskets Bonn. Their biggest strength was their defense as they were able to keep the opponent to 70 points or less in 17 games. The team didn´t have the most talent or have the deepest roster, but they played with a lot of heart and never wanted to leave the court as the loser. The big strength of head coach Henrik Roedel was that he was able to utilize the most out of each player to give to the success of the team.

TBB Trier built some positive team chemistry last season and Henrik Rodel did a smart thing by keeping seven players from last season with  top scorer Phillipp Zwiener, Lebron James friend Dru Joyce, the heart and soul of the team John Bynum, Serb inside out terror Dragan Dojcin, German beats Maik Zirbes, Oskar Fassler and Luxemburg product Samy Picard. With a few vital components missing, TBB Trier added American forward Nate Linhart, three point snipper EJ Gallup who will play his last game against the Fraport Skyliners as he heads back to the States to go into coaching and young German talents Andreas Seiferth and Joshiko Saibou. “ TBB Trier have an overall good team. Zirbes was a beast on the offensive glass and seemed to get his hands on every ball. He is a stud that could be an NBA player. Joyce controlled the tempo of the game and was good on ball screens and Gallup really can shoot the ball and spreads the floor well with Joyce penetrating and Zirbes down low”, warned s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg guard Chris Kramer. With a less stocked line up this season, TBB Trier is careful about making any defined predictions. “Our goal is to equal the success of last season”, stressed TBB Trier board of directors Ralph Moog. The question will be can TBB Trier match their success from last season? “ We will not give a standings goal for this season.The league is a lot stronger than last season so it would be wrong to talk about the playoffs. The most important thing for us keep developing as team”stressed Henrik Roedel. TBB Trier has gotten off to a slow start at 3-6 and rest in 15th place. They have beaten Bremerhaven, Bayreuth and BG Goettingen. They let two games get away as the lost In Hagen and gave Giessen an early Christmas present by seemingly handing them a win in their own living room. Positive continues to be that they defend for a passion and continue to give up little points, but often have problems finding ways to put points on the boards. “I think our biggest problem has been notable to put points on the board. We haven’t been able to score on a consistent basis, because our defense has been solid but if you can’t score somewhat then your not going to win games”, warned TBB Trier guard John Bynum. “Our strength is our defense. We know each other so well on the court and everyone wants to defend well. If you don’t play defense then you sit on the bench. Nobody wants to disappoint coach, because we know how important defense is for him. That is why we give so much effort on defense”, warned Maik Zirbes. Even with the slow start, TBB Trier have a strong will to win and could be a thorn in the side of most teams on any given night. “Our goal is like last season, just taking it one game at a time and giving all we have to win each game”, warned Maik Zirbes.

In the last Six years, The Skyliners have a record of 7-5 against TBB Trier with 2-2 at home and 2-2 on the road. Frankfurt lost the last two games in Trier 74-64 in 2008 on the last day of the season where teams were jockeying for playoff places and Frankfurt ended up getting The Bayer Giants Leverkusen in the quarterfinals. In 2009-2010, TBB Trier played a very energetic and spirited game winning 78-70 despite a monster game by American Derrick Allen who registered 29 points and 10 boards. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners lost the first game of the season in Trier 71-67 as Jimmy Mckinney and Qarraan Calhoun were missing due to injury. It was your typical season opening game as both teams were nervous and missing way too many shots. The game was tied at halftime 26 all. Frankfurt had fire power in the third quarter, but went down in the fourth quarter scoring only nine points as Frankfurt had no nerves in crunch time to win. Derrick Allen had 19 points and eight rebounds and despite TBB Trier was without top scorer Chrs Copeland, the team got needed production form Jamal Shuler, Brian Brown and George Evans to conserve the win. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners lost the first game ion Trier71-67 as Ex Skyliner Derrick Allen contributed 19 points and eight rebounds and Frankfurt won at home 71-69 winning the game with Pascal Roller free throws. Derrick Allen led Frankfurt with 17 points. Last season, Frankfurt swept the season series. They won at home 72-55 as Pascal Roller led the home team with 17 points. The return date in Trier was an exciting battle as Frankfurt clawed out a 69-61 win as they came from behind going on a 10-0 run in crunch time to prevail. Dashaun Wood led the charge with 18 points and Jimmy Mckinney added 11 points.

The name Maik Zirbes has always been seen as a guy that could develop into one of the top German centers and currently he is showing how strong he as he is leading TBB Trier in scoring with 12,4ppg and 6,4rpg. He was born in Traben-Trarbach  is a huge talent and has been able to increase his playing time each season. He started his basketball career in the TBB Trier youth programs and in 2008-2009 he played 12 games averaging 1.3ppg and in the summer of 2009 played at the World University Games in Belgrade (Serbia) playing 6 games averaging 5.5ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 44.0%, FT: 64.7%. Last season, he averaged 7.4ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 60.9%, FT: 73.3% “He is a big body with soft hands and will help them under the boards. He is very talented”, warned ex TBB Trier forward Chris Copeland. Dru Joyce  is a 26 year old 183cm point guard. He is the typical floor general who supplies leadership, court vision and points when needed. He returns back to the BEKO BBL after playing for Ratiopharm Ulm from 2007-2009. Each season, he was the second best assist man in the BEKO BBL. His best season in Ulm was 2008-2009 as he led the club into the playoffs playing 34 games averaging 10.1ppg, 1.8rpg, Assists-2(4.5apg), FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 73.0%. He is best known for playing along side NBA superstar Lebron James at St Marys and winning three high school titles. He played at Akron from 2003-2007 as in his senior year, he played 33 games averaging 10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3Pts: 39.6%, FT: 65.6%. In 2009-2010, he played in Poland forEnerga Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK, starting five), Polish League: 6 games: 4.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.0apg; in Nov.’09 moved to Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-PLK): 27 games: 7.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 75.9%. “I played for two very good coaches. One was from Latvia and the other was from Belarus. It was a new situation for me since I had always played for American coaches. They both had different styles. I had some ups and downs in Poland, but I learned to always keep fighting when I was going through a rough time. You always have to be ready when called upon”, stressed Dru Joyce. Last season for TBB Trier, he played 35 games: 12.9ppg, 3.1rpg, Assists-3(5.5apg), FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 74.4%. Currently he is averaging 12,3ppg, 3,6rpg and 5,9apg.

Phillip Zwiener is a 26 year old 198cm forward who started his basketball career as a 17 year old in 2002 for TSV Lesum-Bremen (2Bundealiga). In 2004-2005, in his last season for TSV Lesum, he played 29 games averaging 14.4ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 57%, 3FGP: 28.1%, FT: 77.3%. He then got rewarded by getting signed by German power house Alba Berlin. Zwiener didn´t take off like an Albatros as he played on the  Spree for five years playing only 114 BEKO BBL games, 15 ULEB Cup games, 4 Eurocup games and 2 Euroleague games. He never was able to develop into a important player because the club had so many talented players and always had the pressure to have to win. He was able to win 2 BEKO BBL cups and 1 BEKO BBL championship with Alba Berlin. Despite not playing so much in Berlin, German national coach Dirk Bauerman always had an eye on him and invited him to play at the 2008 Olympics in Bejing. “I am not surprised by the development of Phil. He just didn´t get much time in Berlin. He got valuable experience and now is getting his chance to shine in Trier. His time in Berlin was very valuable as he was playing for one of the most respected teams in Europe and was able to play behind some great players and learn from them and play Euroleague. He will only get better”, warned John Bynum. “Phil never had a real chance in Berlin, because there were so many talented players there. He is a good player and is proving it now with TBB Trier. If he keeps working then he will improve. I am sure his goal is to return back to the German national team”, warned Dru Joyce. “Zwiener is currently one of the best in the league. He is running the team and has done a good job. He just needed the chance to play which he didn´t get in Berlin and now he is getting that chance”, commented Quentin Pryor. Last season for TBB Trier, the German played 30 games: 12.8ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 74.2%. Currently he is averaging 11,3ppg, 4,5rpg and 1,7apg.

Dragan Dojcin  is a 35 year old 205cm power forward from Serbia. He is playing his second season with TBB Trier and his fifth season in the BEKO BBL. He is a Left handed power forward that is very quick. He has a very good shoot from the distance and can play under the basket. He played in Slovenia and Serbia before going to Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): EuroCup Challenge: 10 games: 10.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 50%, 3PT: 40%, FT: 82.1%; Ukrainian League: 30 games: 9.4ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 76.7%. In 2006-2007, he played for Panionios Forthnet Athens (Greece-A1, starting five): FIBA EuroCup: 15 games: 8.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3apg, 2FGP: 42.6%, 3FGP: 37.8%, FT: 64.3%; Greek League: 26 games: 8.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 59.0%, 3FGP: 46.0%, FT: 56.0%. He played for Alba Berlin from 2007-2010. His best season was 2009-2010  where he played EuroCup: 14 games: 4.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.5apg; German League: 36 games: 5.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 67.6%. He won the Slovenian cup in 2004, BEKO BBL title in 2008, BEKO BBL cup in 2009 and reached the Eurocup final in 2010 with Alba Berlin. Last season with TBB Trier, he played 34 games: 7.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 56.9%. Currently, he is averaging 10,4ppg, 3,4rpg and 1,2apg and is shooting over 40% from the field and outside. The team also has EJ Gallup who is a 30 year old 193cm American who will be playing his last game for TBB Trier in Frankfurt. He had had  ashort term contract which expires on November 30th and will go back to the States to go into coaching. Gallup played at Albany(NCAA) and Co.Carolina (NCAA) from 2001-2004. He then played professional basketball for  a few years with the Albany Patrons(CBA) and ratiopharm Ulm from 2006-2008. He then went into the restaurant business for some years before returning to play for the Albany Legends (IBL) this past summer where he averaged  17ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.6apg, 3PT: 56%(1). Currently he is averaging 7,6ppg and 1,8rpg.

Nate Linhart is a 25 year old 201cm forward from Gahanna, Ohio that is playing his third professional basketball season and first with TBB Trier. He played at Akron(NCAA) from 2005-2009 and played with TBB Trier teammate Dru Joyce. In his senior year, he played 36 games: 10.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.5apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 44.3%, 3Pts: 32.8%, FT: 81.3%. In 2009-2010, he played for BSC Raiffeisen Furstenfeld Panthers (Austria-A Bundesliga, starting five): 44 games: 11.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 59.4%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 76.1%. Last season, he played for the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 50 games: 10.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 2.9apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 73.8%. Currently he is averaging 6,4ppg and 3,8rpg. John Bynum is a 33 year old 191cm guard from Visalia, California. He is a good fighter, fast and good in offensive playing. He is great athlete who can shoot the ball with consistency from 3 and finish with authority on the break. He is tremendous defender on the ball and is looking (class act off the floor). He has played in countries like England(All Star slam dunk winner 2002), Norway and Cyprus, but his heart has belonged to Germany the most as he is starting his seventh season in Germany. He has played for clubs like BSG Grevenbroich (Germany-Regionalliga), COOCOON Baskets Weiden (Germany-2.Bundesliga), USC Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) and Proveo Merlins Crailsheim (Germany-ProA). He also has had BEKO BBL experience playing for Bremerhaven and Paderborn where he played a total of 65 games before coming to TBB Trier. In 2009-2010, he played for Proveo Merlins Crailsheim (Germany-ProA, starting five): 27 games: 16.9ppg, 7.1rpg, Assists-3(5.4apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 62.8%. Last season for TBB Trier, he played 35 games: 6.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 64.3%. Currently he is averaging 5,8ppg, 3,5rpg and 3,4apg. Oskar Fassler is a 23 year old 198cm guard who also comes from the Alba Berlin fraction. He played for TUS Lichterfelde Berlin (Regionalliga) from 2004-2006. He joined Alba Berlin in 2006 and played there until 2009. He also was a young player that didn’t get a real chance as he was sitting on the bench. He only played 22 BEKO BBL games. In 2009-2010, he started with Alba Berlin and then moved to Science City Jena (ProA, starting five): 12 games: 9.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 77.8%, also played at Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (1.Bundesliga): 4 games: 4.3ppg, 2.0rpg. Last season for TBB Trier he played 25 games: 5.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 59.1%He was a part of the German U-18 and U-20 teams and played at the European Championships U20 Division B in Targu Mures (Romania) -08:(Champion): 7 games: 3.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.4apg. Currently he is averaging 4,1ppg, 2,0rpg and 1,0apg. The club picked up big German talent Andreas Seiferth who comes form the Alba Berlin school. Seiferth is a 22 year old 206cm power forward/center. Last season he played for : ALBA Berlin (1.Bundesliga): German League: 5 games: 0.6ppg; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 0pts, 1reb; EuroCup: 5 games: 1.0ppg, 1.4rpg, had also a license to play at ALBA Berlin II (Regionalliga): 20 games: 15.4ppg, Reb-2(10.7rpg), 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 67.4%. Currently he is averaging 2,3ppg and 1,2rpg. Samy Picard is a 23 year old 195cm forward from Luxemberg who is playing his playing his third season with TBB Trier. Last season, he played 25 games averaging 2,8ppg. He started his career with the Musel Pikes (DBBL) in 2005 where he played until 2009.This past summer, he played the Qualifications to European Championships Division B 2011 -10: 3 games: 15.0ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT-2(89.5%). Currently, he is averaging 1,8ppg.

The Fraport Skyliners enter the game against TBB Trier with a eight game losing streak and after a difficult schedule now have come upon the time where they have to get wins to get back into the middle of the standings with games against TBB Trier, Phoenix Hagen and BBC Bayreuth in the next weeks. “Frankfurt should be winning games. They are a good team and haven´t been getting the bounces. If they stay positive then they will get wins”, warned Gran Canaria guard Marquez Haynes. TBB Trier are riding a three game losing streak and will come into the Fraport arena with a lot of motivation, because the club hates to lose and only had one three game losing streak all last season. “We really want to beat Frankfurt bad. We will give our best and give a good team effort on offense and defense. Iam looking forward to battle against Jermareo Davidson. It is always nice playing against tough players like that, but he only has to arms and two legs”, smiled Maik Zirbes. TBB Trier control the team stats over the Fraport Skyliners, but that is something Frankfurt should not worry too much about since they should be more worried about their own game. Frankfurt knows the positives from the Gran Canaria game. “We fought to the end against Gran Canaria. We should take that into the Trier game and continue to play our good inside/ out game and play aggressive defense and get out on transition”, stressed Quantez Robertson. In the last games, defense has been vastly improved by Frankfurt and should be a big focus again against TBB Trier. “Defense will be vital against TBB Trier. We have to stick together as a team and be  ready to play. We have been defending well in the last games, but we just have to focus to get even more defensive stops to get us over the hump”, warned Michael Thompson. Chris Kramer helped beat TBB Trier earlier this season with Wurzburg and knows how to beat them. Frankfurt has to control the glass. They also should try to get Zirbes in some pick and roll situations”, added Chris Kramer. The Fraport Skyliners host TBB Trier November 27th at 15:00.

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