In the BCM training facility, it is never rare to see a bunch of Fraport Skyliner players practicing each day working on how they will beat their next opponent and seeing people of all ages going after a basketball. However once in a while, there are special occasions where the ultimate best enter the gym like in the last years with the German national team, NBA superstar Dirk Nowitzki or ex NBA players like Alex Acker, Marcus Brown, Marcus Fizer, Charles Smith, Mario Kasun or current NBA players like Carlos Arroyo, Jon Leuer, Lavoy Allen or Justin Harper. With the Pascal Roller farewell game that was held on January 28th, the Skyliner legend invited back some of his ex teammates like Stefano Garris, Jukka Matinen, Dennis Wucherer, Robert Maris or Gerrit Terdenge to battle on the court. The BCM court may not be as big as the Fraport arena, but there is a special aura in the building that gives the impression that extra ordinary players have stepped on the court for years. “The BCM brings back special memories. I have left a lot of sweat and tears on this court. I always enjoyed practicing here and have only positive memories”, expressed current KTP Basket Kotka forward Jukka Matinen. Nino Garris who will always cherish the ad he did on top of the Deutsche Bank tower in 2005 with Pascal Roller also will never forget the BCM. “This is one of the best gym´s in Europe. Every team wants a facility like this. I was lucky to be able to work in this building for three years”, added Nino Garris. For rookie Michael Thompson, the BCM is like a candy shop, becuas eits always open. “This place is always open, and there are so many rims that one can always shoot. I like to be here in my free time working on my shooting and ball handling. I have the luxury to be able to walk here”, stressed Michael Thompson.
Pascal Roller played 11 seasons in Frankfurt playing 406 Beko BBL games amassing 4,021 points, winning the cup in 2000 and German championship in 2004, reaching the Beko BBL final in 2005 and 2010 and strapping on the German national jersey 122 times. The Pascal Roller Allstars gave a spirited performance, but in the end were unable to get by the Fraport Skyliners who won 85-80. The game consisted of three quarters with 11 minutes each and Pascal Roller even kidnapped Jimmy Mckinney and Marius Nolte for his team in the second and third quarters. Skyliner Justin Gray was unable to participate, but had had the chance to play against Roller some years ago in a test game as he was playing in Belgium and between taking snap shots of his son found some time to reflect on the ex German national player. “I have gotten to know Pascal this season. Our kids play together. Pascal is a genuine good person and just wants that everything works well for everyone. As a player, he was a leader, a very good player that you could always count on. He was a very special player and it was good to have this tribute for him”, added Justin Gray. Even though the game didn´t count for anything except for memories down the road, players on both teams had only thumbs up about the 33 minute game. “This game was a lot of fun.For the guys who aren´t playing anymore, this was a game for fun, but we still had the competitive feeling on the court”, added 2005 European championships Silver medalist winner Nino Garris. For Skyliner Devin Gibson who is used to the competitive NCAA and now Beko BBL enjoyed this different kind of game. “This was like any other game in that we had fun. It was fun playing against the old Skyliners. We had to give our best to win. We made plays at the end when we needed to”, added Texas native Devin Gibson. “This was a lot of fun. Pascal Roller paved the way for young guys like me”, explained Michael Thompson.
Even though the farewell game for Pascal Roller was not played in the Fraport arena, the atmosphere felt very much like any other game day in the main arena. Mascots Dunking Kong and Rookie were on hand as well as Sky girl who was back again after a longer absence. Both teams were very much relaxed in the pregame shooting. The Fraport Skyliners were back from a six day holiday and didn´t seem rusty at all. Ex teammates Robert Maris and Jukka Matinen who won the 2004 Beko BBL title were having a chilled conversation on the bench while Domonic Bahiense De Mello who played with Roller from 2005-2011 was also on hand getting the day off from EWE Baskest Oldenburg head coach Predrag Krunich. Beko BBL boss Jan Pommer was also on hand to watch the last game of Pascal Roller as was German basketball federation boss Ingo Weiss. The Fraport Skyliners fan club Skybembels also had a gift for the ex captain and made him an honorary member of the fan club. When the game then finally did start, it was the Pascal Roller Allstars who got on the score board first with a lay in from Robert Maras. However the Fraport Skyliners didn´t leave their energy on the plane, but quickly bounced back with a 14-0 run to lead 14-2. Jimmy Mckinney, Michael Thompson and Jacob Burtschi nailed three three pointers, Jermareo Davidson scored inside and Thompson connected again from down town. Maris continued to be the only scoring option scoring inside too more times including a fancy pick and roll with Roller. Frankfurt continued to shoot very well as Mckinney dropped two three pointers and German national player Tim Ohlbrecht made a tip as Frankfurt led 24-10. However the Pascal Roller allstars started a come back in the last minutes closing out the first quarter with a 12-5 run to trail only 29-22 after 11 minutes. The Roller allstars got needed points inside as ex Giessen 46er Gerrit Terdenge scored, 2000 cup winner Robin Grey and Garris got their team back. Nino Garris closed out the first quarter with a crushing dunk that might have gotten a slight twitch and grin from Quantez Robertson. A enjoyable thing to see was dunking kong playing with the son of Justin Gray during a time out and trying to show him how to throw a free throw.
The Fraport Skyliners started the second quarter with a bang going on a 6-0 run to lead 34-22. Thompson snuck inside for a bucket as did Davidson including making a jumper. The game was very entertaining for the fans even if the word defense was about as distant for the players as is the word poverty for Paris Hilton. Both teams were playing a lax zone defense. Mckinney now swapped jerseys joining the Roller team. The roller allstars continued to stay in the game going on a 5-0 run as Roller hit his first three pointer of the game and current FC Bayern Munich assistant coach Dennis Wucherer scored inside showing his still present aggressiveness as they trailed 35-29. The Roller allstars continued to scrap there way back cutting the Frankfurt lead to 43-41 getting big three pointers from Mckinney and Matinen. Wucherer showed again that he still has a quick first step tip toeing past Davidson on the base line and scoring. Two consecutive Davidson jumpers didn´t faze the Roller allstars as Roller took the command into his own hands as he did so often in his long career tying the score at 47-47 with a bomb from outside. As quickly as Roller tied the score, Frankfurt was able to escape on a 5-o run to lead 52-47 as Johannes Herber hit a long distance three and Davison made a left handed dunk. “We had problems with their press defense”, stated Gerrit Terdenge. Garris who had gained 20 kilos and lost them again as he started to play in the Regionaliga looked very much in game shape nailing a step back jumper over Paderboen native Marius nOlte. After Mckinney and Ohlbrecht traded dunks, it was De Mello that connected on a three pointer to tie the score at 54-54. After a Nolte free throw, Garris closed out the third quarter with a fade away jumper as the Pascal Roller allstars led 56-55.
The team battery of the Pascal Roller allstars seemed to run out in the third quarter as the Fraport Skyliners quickly jumped on them going on a 19-4 run to lead 74-60. Skyliner captain Marius Nolte changed teams going to the Roller allstars. Thompson started the run with an open three pointer. Davidson scored inside which was followed by two consecutive lay ins by Ohlbrecht. De Mello kept the score from getting too much out of hand getting two lay ins as Frankfurt led only 66-60. However the Fraport Skyliners reeled off a lightening 8-0 run to make the score 74-60 as Robertson found his touch from outside with two three pointers and Thompson scored inside. Despite time running out the energy of the Pascal Roller allstars seeming to run out, they still gave all they had even if the two traded players Mckinney and Nolte gave the needed production with the allstars trailing only 77-69. It seemed like Robertson may have sealed the game with another three pointer 80-68, but it was Roller who answered back with a timely three pointer cutting the Frankfurt lead to only 80-71. Thompson then hit another three pointer as Frankfurt led 83-71. The allstars seemed to save their best for last starting a last comeback as Garris hit a big three pointer and Wucherer made an ally-op lay in off a nice feed from Garris as the Roller allstars trailed only 85-78. With less than a minute to play, Roller scored his last bucket with a cute dunk with a body assist from Marius Nolte. Roller was quick to point out after the game that that was not his first dunk ever. “I once dunked twice in a game”, smiled Pascal Roller. “The Roller dunk was great. A teammate helping out another teammate”, said Devin Gibson. The game ended with Roller dribbling the ball and sporting his so likeable million euro smile as the classic Whitney Houston ballad “One moment in time” was being played in the BCM with one or the other fan displaying a tear. “No teams showed defense in this game, because it was for fun. We got the necessary defensive rebounds at the end and hit three pointers which got us the win”, stressed Michael Thompson. “The Skyliners could have won by more, but it was nice that they kept the game close at the end. The key was their three pointers”, added Jukka Matinen.
The Fraport Sklyiners were led by Michael Thompson with 18 points. Jermareo Davidson added 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Quantez Robertson contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Tim Ohlbrecht produced 10 points and eight rebounds. The Pascal Roller allstars were led by Stefano Garris and Dennis Wucherer with 13 points a piece. Pascal Roller added 11 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals. It was a great evening for the fans and the proceeds of the night were given to the project Basketball macht schule. After the game, Roller had cameras and lights in his face one more time and his big smile accompanying his last steps on the BCM floor. “I was a little nervous at the start, because it had been a while since my last game. It was nice seeing that some of my ex teammates are still in good form. I had fun and so did the fans”, expressed Pascal Roller. The Fraport Skyliners go back to work on Febraury 4th in Ludwigsburg.