Can The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg Seek revenge On The Fraport Skyliners With No Justin Gray?

The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg have only been back in the Beko BBL four moths after having been absent from the Beko BBL for six years, but right at the start of the season, their buzzer beater loss to the Fraport Skyliners had much discussion matter. On October 12th, the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg lost a bitter game on a last second shot  by Justin Gray. Soon after the loss, Wurzburg protested the Frankfurt win and appealed to the Beko BBL for a rematch, because they claimed that German national player Johannes Herber had hit a three pointer after the referee had blown the whistle which led to a John Patrick technical foul and seven unanswered Skyliner points. However the Beko BBL didn´t grant the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg a rematch and thus the game remained a heartbreaking loss for the Bavarian team. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg will go into the return game at home with  a lot of revenge and be as focused to win as comedian Bill Maher was at poking fun at Tim Tebow using Satin and Hitler, Usher firing away at at his ex wife saying don’t take away my kids or world class sprinter Usain Bolt getting every last ounce in the booze bong on vacation in Jamaica. New York native Jason Boone remembers the buzzer beater loss, past buzzer beaters and revenge on Frankfurt. “You have to have a short memory after the Frankfurt loss. We couldn´t worry about a loss like that because something like that can affect your overall play. The loss was tough, but we had to focus on the next game immediately. I have been on the losing end of some buzzer beaters in college and also with the one where Bremerhaven eliminated us, but I also have been part of two good buzzer beater wins. It is all part of the game. At this point of the season, we know that we can play with the best teams in the BBL as well as loose to the weaker teams if we don´t come to play. We definitely want to play well against Frankfurt, but more because we want to play good basketball then opposed to having revenge”, stressed Jason Boone. Teammate Ricky Harris also has the buzzer beater still on his mind. “I remember that buzzer beater as if it was yesterday. We fought so hard at coming back from being down. Guys stepped up big and made plays and then to see a 35 footer go down was a heart breaker, but that was a great shot by Justin Gray. As soon as the game day comes, that buzzer beater will pop into our heads again. That was the first buzzer beater that I ever experienced. I see it all the time in the NBA and it excites me. But being on the loosing end of a buzzer beater isn´t fun”, warned Ricky Harris.

Basketball in Wurzburg was more or less born in 1997 as the club came into the beko BBL mostly due to a 19 year old tall blond talent named Dirk Nowitzki. The team stayed in the top German league until 2005 as it developed future German national players with Robert Garrett, Demond Greene and Marvin Willoughby. The team then wasn´t able to successfully stay in the league and also had a dark ominous cloud of bankruptcy hovering over the team. However the club was able to escape any financial problems and started new in the second Bundesliga as Mainfranken Basket. The club wanted to rely on German players, but this experiment failed as they won only one game and departed the second league. The team then rechanged their name to the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and started new again in the Regionaliga and the club steadily started their rise back to the Beko BBL first reaching the PRO B in the 2008-2009 season winning all 24 games in the Regionaliga. In 2009-2010, the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg reached third place in the PRO B and had some fortune as the Hertener were financially unable to play in the PRO A, so the Wurzburg team was able to move up to the PRO A after all. Their dramatic rise continued in the PRO A as they finished the season in second place with a record of 21-7 and reaching the Beko BBL again after 6 years of being away.

The first order of business in Wurzburg this season was finding a head coach and the team did that reeling in American John Patrick early in the summer. Patrick started to quickly build his new team, but as the new season approached his roster looked very much different than two months earlier as some players that had been signed had to go. Americans Patrick Flomo(Gloria Giants), Tim Burnette(Furstenfeld, Austria), Achmadschah Zazai(Giessen 46ers) and American Mike Tisdale had to pack their bags early and in the mean time, the American hauled in new players with Chris Kramer and Robert Tomaszek. The way Patrick functions may not always be favorable to a player, but in the long run, he has had success with his style of players and should know best. “Coach has his way and his ways seem to be successful and if a player doesnt fit into what he is trying to accomplish why should he keep him. It is his team and his system and he knows what is best for his team”, warned John Bynum. Patrick did a smooth and intelligent act bringing in three ex Goettingen players with Jason Boone, Ben Jacobson and John Little who won the Eurochallenge in 2010 and have much experience that will help the younger players in Wurzburg. “Anytime you have a familiar face in your corner it is always a good thing because you know things about the guys already instead of bringing in guys that you may not know about besides their stats. Character takes you a long way and if you already know what your getting then it is an advantage”, warned John Bynum. “The best part about being reunited with these guys is the fact that we’ve become accustomed to a certain level of success. And any time one of us, or our teammates is not 100% focused on pursuing that level, we are there to put each other in check. We missed a little of that last season in Gottingen but I’m confident Ben Jacobson will bring that back with him. He brings the best out of John and I”, added Jason Boone.  Patrick also brought in talented Americans Gilbert Brown(was waived after 8 games, 4,3ppg and 1,8rpg) and Rickey Harris and also wants to show his love for German youth development by bringing in Oliver Clay and Alex King who isn´t 18 anymore, but is a player who fills out his role well. Ivan Elliot might be one of the big winners in the roster, because last season he was in the Beko BBL with Bremerhaven got cut and went to the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg helping the team reach the PRO A. Patrick decided to keep the American and already has become an important force this season. The team recently also added Chester Frazier who is no unknown player to the Beko BBL.

The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg got off to a superb start of 2-0 beating an always tough defensive minded TBB Trier and crushing the LTi Giessen 46ers 85-60 in the Osthalle. In the 73-67 win against TBB Trier, they showed their defensive qualities forcing TBB Trier to 16 turnovers and In Giessen held a new formed 46er team to 60 points holding them to 38% from the field and 29% from the parking lot while forcing 21 turnovers. American Rickey Harris has quietly been the go to guy amassing 43 points total in the first two games. John Patrick had been known in his years in Goettingen to play a special brand of basketball called 40 minutes of hell where his team plays pressure pressure and pressure bringing the opponent often to the brink of despair. Last season, the 40 minutes of hell seemed to have dipped to 20-25 minutes of hell. If Patrick will have this pressure play in Wurzburg like he had in Goettingen is hard to say, but his pressure style will somehow always be in his blood. “I think the pressure was more in Gottingen but dont let that comment think that you dont see a lot of pressure. They disrupt your flow of the game and often you have to rush your sets because you get the ball back to the point guard with around 17-18 seconds and thats what you have to work with your offense”, warned John Bynum. Can John Patrick make the s.Oliver Baskets a steady playoff team the way he did with BG Goettingen? “Wurzburg can be a playoff team if they protect their home court and get some away teams. Their type of play differs from most teams in the league and teams struggle playing against them”, added John Bynum. After the loss to the Fraport Skyliners, Wurzburg had a very strong stretch having a 5-2 record. They had big home wins against ratiopharm Ulm and the Telekom Baskets Bonn and showed that they were nothing like a team that might have problems staying in the Beko BBL for a second season. Then came a dry spell as they lost three games in a row including their only home loss of the season against Bamberg a tough 73-70 road loss in Hagen. Since then the team has won three of their last four games including huge home wins against FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin. Wurzburg continues to a very strong home team having a 8-1 record in their living room and it seems like Patrick has brought some of that magic invincible aura from the Lokhalle to the s.Oliver arena. Wurzburg also lets up a league best lowest 67 points per game.

s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg signed Jason Boone who is a 26 year old 198cm power forward/center from Sugar Loaf, New York who played his four seasons with Goettingen. Four years ago, he made the jump from the Regionalliga to the BBL, which is similar as if a professional baseball player jumped from A ball to MLB. Last season for BG Goettingen, he played 37 games: 8.5ppg, 5.9rpg, FGP: 59.8%, FT: 34.9%; EuroCup: 14 games: 9.1ppg, 6.2rpg, Blocks-4(1.1bpg), FGP: 59.8%, FT: 36.0% . “Jason Boone is a strong athlete who likes to finish around the rim and is not a shooter at all. One should give him the jump shot and don’t let him penetrate. He is a strong offensive rebounder and goes to the boards each time. He isn´t  a good free throw shooter and don’t give him any easy layups. One should attack him on defense and despite his athletic body, doesn´t move his feet so well and he is foul prone”, Frankfurt still will have to keep an eye on him in the paint”, added 2009 Beko BBL top scorer Omari Westley.  “Boone is probably one of the strongest low post players in the BBL. He can move anybody with his strength down low”, added Ricky Hickman who is playing his second season in Italy.” I always want to improve my game, and I feel like coming into this season fully healthy will help me establish myself as a top center in this league. In retrospect I think, on a personal level, last season was a “down” year for me, but it taught me a lot and I’ll be entering this season with a focus that I have not yet possessed”, commented Jason Boone. The team also brought in another familiar face from the Beko BBL with Ben Jacobson. Jacobson is a 28 year old 188cm guard that is a big Time Point Guard, very good defender and a great scorer who can create his own shot. Before coming to BG Goettingen in 2007, he played at Northern Iowa with teammate John Little and in other German places like Erdgas Ehingen and the Mitteldeutscher BC. His most successful season was 2009-2010 where he helped BG Goettingen win the Eurochallenge playing Big Time Point Guard, very good defender and a great scorer who can create his own shot. Last season he played for Ikaros Kallitheas (Greece-A1, starting five), only pre-season, in Dec.’10 moved to Boulazac Basket Dordogne (France-ProB, starting five): 19 games: 12.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 34.9%.

The third member to arrive from BG Goettingen is John Little who is a 27 year old 180cm guard from Peoria, Illinois. He played four seasons with BG Goettingen. He played at Northern Iowa from 2002-2006. In 2007-2008, he wanted to play for the Peoria Kings of the ABA league, but the team folded, so he returned to Northern Iowa and finished the season as assistant coach. Last season, he played EuroCup: 9 games: 6.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT: 80.0%; German League: 33 games: 6.3ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 21.0%, FT: 75.0% “Little is their energy guy. He brings  a lot of energy and athletic ability from the bench. He doesn´t have much of a shot and likes to drive to the hoop and finish at the rim. He is  a good rebounder for his size. He is possibly the best defender on the team. He has long arms and plays the passing lanes well and is their best on ball defender”, stressed Omari Westley. “He is probably one of the scrappiest players in the league and always plays hard and gives 100% every minute on the court”, added Ricky Hickman. The team kept two players from the 2011 second placed PRO A team and one is Ivan Elliot. Elliot is a 24 year old 203cm power forward/center from San Francisco, California. He is a very versatile on the offensive end, able to shoot the 3-pointer with confidence, slash to the basket, and play underneath the basket with his physical strength and overall skills, is the ultimate team player who always gives everything he has in every practice and game, highly motivated and willing to do the extra work to become the best player. He has experience having played for SK Valmiera (Latvia) as a rookie and two years ago for MBC. Last season for the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg, he played 30 games: 10.6ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 59.3%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 77.8%. The team recently brought in a fourth ex member of BG Goettingen with Chester Frazier who is a 25 year old 188cm guard from Baltimore, Maryland. He played at Illinois(NCAA) from 2005-2009 an din his senior year played 31 games: 5.7ppg, 4.8rpg, AssistsConf-1(5.3apg), StealsConf-7(1.4spg), FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 66.7%: Finished career ranked sixth on the Illinois career assists list with 484. In 2009-2010, he helped BG Goettingen win the Eurochallenge playing EuroChallenge: 14 games: 3.8ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg; German League: 31 games: 5.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 53.3%. Last season, he went back to Illinois to finish his degree and help out with coaching.”He isn´t only a strong defender, but is a good offensive player. He guards Ben Jacobson and Chris Kramer each day and makes them better. He has been a great help for our team in terms of toughness and he is just a great guy to have around”, stressed Jason Boone

Ricky Harris is playing his first season in the Beko BBL. He is a 24 year old 188cm guard from Baltimore, Maryland. He played at Massachusetts (NCAA) from 2006-2010. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 19.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 42.7%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 72.9%. Last season as a rookie, he saw much of the world playing for BC Siauliai (Lithuania-LKL): Lithuanian League: 8 games: 7.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 61.5%; EuroCup: 5 games: 12.6ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 47.6%; Baltic League: 14 games: 10.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.2%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 66.2%, in Jan.’11 moved to Ferro-ZNTU Zaporozhye (Ukraine-Superleague): 29 games: 9.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 67.4%, then moved to B-Meg Llamados (Philippines-PBA). Recently with the hire and fire tactic of John Patrick, the team hauled in Robert Tomaszek who is a 30 year old 204cm forward Polish-German. He is an aggressive but an average defender, he is mostly an offensive player, with a nice middle distance shooting touch, and good low post offensive skills; is also a good passer. He also has much experience having enjoyed the Colorado countryside at Aspen high school and attending Texas Tech playing with Ronald Ross and for legendary coach Bobby Knight. He has experience having played in Italy, Czech Republic and in the Ukraine. He won the Czech championship in 2009 with CEZ Basketball Nymburk. Last season, he played with ex Skyliner Konrad Wysocki for PGE Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-PLK, starting five): 40 games: 7.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.8%, FT: 50.4%. The club recently also brought in 23 year old 191cm Chris Kramer from Huntington, Indiana. Kramer had a solid career at Purdue and in his senior year played 35 games: 6.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 74.7%. At Purdue, he won the Big ten tournament in 2009 and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010. He also was the All-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. Last season as a professional rookie, he played for Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League, starting five): 41 games: 13.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.8apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 56.7%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 81.9%. In June 2011, he signed at Mets de Guaynabo (Puerto Rico-BSN, starting five): 12 games: 8.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 69.8%.

The s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg also has its share of German players including Alex King who moves to his third Beko BBL team. King is a 26 year old 200cm forward from Munich, Germany. King started his basketball career in Frankfurt playing for The Deutsche Bank Skyliners from 2002-2008. In that span he won the German league title in 2004 and was a finalist in 2005 and played a total of 129 BBL games for Frankfurt. He played for the Telekom Baskets Bonn from 2008-20011 playing a total of 101 Beko BBl games. Last season for Bonn he played EuroChallenge: 6 games: 2.5ppg, 4.0rpg; German League: 31 games: 4.9ppg, 2.3rpg. The team also brought in young German Oliver Clay who is a 24 year old 205cm power forward/center from Berlin. He started his basketball career in 2006 for TUS Lichterfelde Berlin (2.Bundesliga): 25 games: 3.2ppg, 2.7rpg. He then played for Alba Berlin playing mostly for the Regionaliga team where he German Regionalliga (North Group) Champion in 2010. Last season, he played for TBB Trier (1.Bundesliga): 33 games: 2.5ppg, 1.9rpg. Christoph Henneberger also stayed with the team. Henneberger is a 27 year old 188cm guard who has seen the ups and downs of Wurzburg basketball since 2003. Last season, he played 30 games: 4.6ppg. The team also has young talented Maximilian Klebber on the roster who is a 19 year old 196cm forward. He started his basketball career in 2008 with SCH Wuerzburg Baskets (Regionalliga). Last season he played 2 games for the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg averaging 2.5ppg, and also played at TG 48 Wuerzburg (Regionalliga.

The s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg not only want to keep their strong home record intact, but also want revenge on the buzzer beater loss. In that loss, ex Fraport Skyliner Jon Leuer had 17 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks, but now is playing in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks and is nothing but a memory. But Frankfurt seem to have done ok with him as well as without Gray as the team has a 5-2 record since the beginning of December 2011. “Leuer was a great player and it definitely doesn´t help them that he is no longer there, but they have many capable players like Davidson who was hurt when we played them and Jacob Burtschi who was great for Phoenix Hagen last year”, stressed Jason Boone. Both teams have played superb defense recently and this could be more of a defensive game than offensive. “Frankfurt struggled a bit at the start, but they have  a great group of guys that compete hard each night and are well coached. We have to play hard for 40 minutes and key will be defense playing physical and rebounding well. We pride ourselves on defense. Even though the game will be in Wurzburg, it will be a hard fought game”, stressed Ricky Harris. The Fraport Skyliners have been unstoppable in the last 5 weeks on the road and will be looking for their fifth win in a row. “We have to defend like against the Artland Dragons and slow down the tempo and rebound well”, stressed Skyliner forward Jacob Burtschi. “Frankfurt has to stay focused and match the intensity of Wurzburg. If they control the tempo and play as a team then they will always have a shot to beat anyone”, stated ex SIG Strassburg American Jeff Greer. Despite the buzzer beater loss, the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg enter the game with a lot of confidence. “We need to play our game, limit turnovers and rebound the ball. If we do that then there isn´t  a team that we can´t beat. We are very confident at home and will be ready for the game”, stressed Jason Boone. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg host the Fraport Skyliners January 15th at 17:00.

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