Will The Fraport Skyliners Have A Solution This Time Against Je Kel Foster And FC Bayern Munich In Crunch Time?

In the world FC Bayern Munich has a reputation and is a household name in Germany, the way Heinz Ketchup is in the United States, Iberia airlines is in Spain, Ferrari is in Italy or IKEA is in Sweden. However in Germany when uttering the word FC Bayern Munich, it is Soccer and one usually affiliates the 22 German meisterschaften, 15 cup wins, the world class players that have graced the red and white jersey like Franz Beckenbauer, Karl Heinz Rummenigge, Gerd Mueller, Oliver Kahn, Lothar Matthäus, the sometime minor scandals that has given the club FC Hollywood status or the famous Uli Hoeness Wutrede at the 2007-2008 stock holders meeting where his head was as red as a bolied lobster. FC Bayern Munich and basketball in the same breath in the past was about as distant as Heidi Klum and Seal are now. However since this season, Basketball is back in the first division since their last visit in 1986-1987 and with the expertise coaching from Dirk Bauermann and ultimate Bayern fan Uli Hoeness giving the needed financial support, the organization is looking to become an FC Barcelona in the Beko BBL sometime down the road. However the route in the direction of a FC Barcelona seems to have taken a severe wrong turn and landed in Sitges(Beach resort near Barcelona) and at the moment the basketball team led by ex German national head coach Dirk Bauermann is about as far away from FC Barcelona as British tennis ace Andy Murray is from winning a Grand Slam event. The FC Bayern Munich bosses never predicted a title in their first season, but were expecting to belong to the top teams and be a force in the Beko BBL playoffs. FC Bayern Munich has been up and down in the last months and if they keep it up, may get gobbled up by the competiton and be in the Munich beer gardens in May instead of the Beko BBL arenas. “One can´t say that FC Bayern Munich is only playing bad. They had good efforts against Oldenburg and BG Goettingen. A team like Munich just can´t become  a title team from today to tomorrow. This takes a lot of development, something that Bamberg has behind them. I am sure that we will see a totally different team when the playoffs start. They just have to continue to find themselves something which has taken longer due to injuries. Every player has the ability to score 20 points or more. The team just can´t mislead themselves. I still see FC Bayern Munich as a serious title candidate”, stressed Walter Tiger Tuebingen forward Ruben Spoden.

For all those that were born after the first man stepped on the moon, a memory of FC Bayern Munich playing in the first German basketball league will be absent. The last time FC Bayern Munich won a German first division basketball title, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl 2, Martin Luther King was assassinated, famous American TV show 60 minutes made its debut on CBS and is still on today, Led Zeppelin make their first Live performance in England and famous Croatian basketball player Toni Kukoc was born as was lovable American actor “who you talking about Willis Gary Coleman. The year was 1968 as Bayern Munich won their last title which was a cup. They were also Bundesliga champion in 1954 and 1955. Since the Bundesliga cup win, basketball has been in the shadow of the soccer team moving down and back up in 1974 and then going back to the second Bundesliga in 1982. They were back in the top division in 1987, but returned back down in 1989. Then in 1993, the team was in the Regionaliga. In 1995, 1999 and 2004, the team found itself back in the second Bundesliga, but they never were able to get back into the first Bundesliga as money and quality players were missing. In 2009-2010, 23,000 members from the club Bayern Munich voted and agreed that the basketball department had to be financially supported so that they could return back to the BEKO BBL. In the 2010-2011 PRO A season Bayern Munich plowed through the competition with new head coach Dirk Bauermann, German national players Steffen Hamann and Demond Greene and locker room motivation magnate Darius Hall.

FC Bayern Munich not only have brought in experienced basketball players, but with head coach Dirk Bauermann as the Beko BBL version of Phil Jackson who has won 9 Beko BBL titles, seven with Bayer Leverkusen and two with the Brose Baskets Bamberg. And one should not forget his experience that he brings with his coaching duty as German national coach from 2003-2011 leading Germany to a Silver medal at the 2005 European championships. With a budget of seven million Euro, Bauermann has that kid feeling of being able to go into Fao Schwartz in New York city and shop until he drops for the right players. Bauermann knows that he will have a new kind of pressure that he never felt before. “There is nothing less accepted than success with FC Bayern Munich. We want to be in the top four teams. We want to play our best basketball when it counts. Titles aren´t won in October”, warned Dirk Bauermann. The club did a good job not doing  a total house cleaning, but keeping a core of guys from the 2011 PRO A championship team. German national players Steffen Hamann and Demond Greene were kept. They may not be the youngest, but still possess special Beko BBL quality. Aleksandar Nadjfeji is 35, but with four Beko BBL titles wants to add some more with Munich, Darius Hall can still give that big smile and sneer to dazzle you and can give valuable minutes from the bench and young German Bastian Doreth who is being groomed to take over for Steffen Hamann down the road. The club added six top players with three German national players. Jan Jagla returns back to the Beko BBL after playing shortly for the Artland Dragons in 2005, Phillip Schwethelm continues to develop and shines with his defense and shooting and German wunder kind Robin Benzing who is looking to make a further step in the Beko BBL in his third season after not being drafted by the NBA.  The team also added Je Kel Foster who is their best one on one player and can be explosive and is a very consistent and reliable player. Ben Hansborough is a Beko BBL rookie and should have some stories about his NBA brother Tyler Hansborough, but was let go at the end of 2011. FC Bayern Munich already suffered some growing pains as ex NBA player Ruben Boumtje Boumtje declared his retirement on account of heart disease and Sharod Ford left the team because of personal reasons. However the team hauled in Chevon Mr chevy Troutman who didn´t need much time to adjust as he belongs to the top centers in the league after only 8 games. The team also brought in strong big man Jared Homan who last played in Italy. “We have a roster that can beat any team in Germany. Key will to form a team out of good individual players”, warned FC Bayern Munich sport director Marko Pesic.

Despite basketball critics blasting FC Bayern Munich for getting big names not necessarily meaning that it will play team basketball, the Bavarian club has a 12-10 record and rest in 7th place and would have a playoff date with ratiopharm Ulm if the playoffs started tomorrow. The club started off with a tough 80-76 loss in Bonn, but then found their rhythm winning four games in a row against some lesser teams, but were able to beat Braunschweig. The team lost two of the last three games against playoff aspiring teams Oldenburg and Artland Dragons before their game against Frankfurt last November. Since their last meeting, FC Bayern Munich has been up and down at 6-7 and not playing anything like their soccer team is. In this span. There biggest wins were against Oldenburg 102-71 and a big win at home against ratiopharm Ulm where they took revenge for their loss in Ulm earlier this season where American Keaton Nankivil sent them home without their leather pants. They continue to be strong at home at 11-1, but very vulnerable on the road at 1-9.  They average 78 points a game and give up 75 points. They have improved their defense from the first nine games where they gave up an average 80 points per game. “Their strength is shooting the ball. They have so many guys that can fill it up with Greene, Wallace, Schwethelm and Foster. Their defense is ok, but the best bet for a team is too run on them, because they have bigs that don’t come back quick enough. They had problems with their pick and roll defense, but we played them before Chevon Troutman came”, warned Josh Young. Even though Foster was out done in Overtime by David Holston in the loss at Artland, Foster belongs to the top players in the Beko BBL and will lead  FC Bayern Munich in tough times. “Foster impressed me the most on that team. He isa smart and great shooter and solid on defense. He is just as tough as nails. You have to put Foster in the same trio of Brown, Wood and Holston”, warned Josh Young.

The Fraport Skyliners will be looking to get revenge for the bitter 58-57 loss in Munich, where a timely Je kel Foster three pointer and offensive rebounds on missed free throws sealedthe win for Dirk Bauermann and his gang. “We have to play defense, play aggressive and execute better on offense and get back on transition defense”, warned Quantez Robertson. Frankfurt will have to forget those last few minutes in the fourth quarter and stay focused mentally for 40 minutes too. “Key will be shutting off any mental lapses that may occur”, warned Michael Thompson. If there is one guy who wants to win as badly as Brose Baskets Bamberg manager Wolfgang Heyder does than it is Skyliner captain Marius Nolte “We have to play concentrated for 40 minutes. We have to play good team defense and give up no easy baskets”, warned Marius Nolte. will need to be awake again in Munich to stop the athletic Chevy. “We have to do a very good job defending the paint. Chevon Troutman is a good player. We have to control the back boards”, warned Justin Gray. Frankfurt should also follow the 3 quick step to success from Tigers guard Josh Young. “Frankfurt has to keep the Munich shooters in check, control the boards and score in transition to have a chance to win”, warned Josh Young. “We have to stay together, move the ball and play good defense”, warned Michael Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners host FC Bayern Munich February 18th.

FC Bayern Munich is led by Chevon Troutman is a 29 year old 202cm forward from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He is a tough, talented rebounder, athletic defender, tough offensive player and fierce competitor who plays with much passion. He has contributed primarily in the low-post but also can play on the perimeter. His high school coach also coached NBA star Allen Iverson. Troutman played at Pittsburgh (NCAA) from 2001-2005 where he reached the NCAA Sweet 16 three years in a row from 2002-2004. As a professional basketball player he has played three years in Italy and three years in France for Adecco ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (France-ProA). He was a French All Star twice and won the cup in 2008 and was French PRO A champion in 2009. Last season, he played for Air Avellino (Italy-SerieA, starting five), injured in Jan.’11 and was off for 4 months: 16 games: 14.6ppg, Reb-3(8.3rpg), Steals-3(2.7spg), FGP: 61.1%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 69.0%. Currently he is averaging 17,8ppg, 9,0rpg and 1,8apg. Je Kel Foster returns back to the Beko BBL after playing in Italy  last season. Foster is a 28 year old 191cm guard from Mississippi that is a natural born leader. Runs the show as a point guard that can score. He thinks to run the offensive first. His long arms and his quickness allows for him to cover the entire floor defensively while also giving him to length to finish over taller players. Excellent 3 point shooter. He played at Ohio State and started his professional basketball career in Germany for EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 42 games: 13.2ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 45.3%, 3FGP: 34.0%, FT: 75.3%. He then played a season in France for Paris-Levallois (France-ProA, starting five): 30 games: 14.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.9apg, Steals-2(2.4spg), 2FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 65.6%. He then played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg from 2008-2010 leading the team to the Beko BBL championship in 2009. Last season, he played for Vanoli-Braga Cremona (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 29 games: 12.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.1apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 71.8%. Currently, he is averaging 16,3ppg, 3,5rpg and 2,1apg. He is hooting 54% from the field and 48% from the parking lot.

Robin Benzing is playing his first season in Bavaria and is a 22 year old 208cm forward from Seeheim-Jugenheim south of Frankfurt, Germany. He is a big forward who can play in both positions (if he works on the physical department) as he has the size and the shooting skills too. His game looks like his country-mate Jan Jagla, he is a bit lighter than the German international, and is playing mostly within the wing. He is amazingly good ball handler for his size and he can attack the basket going both ways. He started his basketball career for TV Langen in 2004 and played there until 2009. He played for ratiopharm Ulm the last two seasons playing  a total of 66 Beko BBL games. Last season, he was the top scoring German in the Beko BBL averaging 15.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 77.2%. he also has been a member of the German national team since 2009 and this past summer played at the European Championships in Lithuania -11: 8 games: 9.1ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 52.6%, FT: 78.6%. Currently, he is averaging 9,8ppg and 3,2rpg. Aleksandar Nadjfeji is playing his 10th season in the Beko BBL and second with FC Bayern Munich and is a 35 year old 203cm forward from Serbia that is has excellent athletic skills. Can run and jump. Very impressive dunker. Can shot. Also good defender. He played for The Telekom Baskets Bonn from 2001-2005 where he never averaged less than 13,8ppg a season in the German league. He then played for RheinEnergie Koln from 2005-2008 where he helped win the Beko BBL title in 2006 and helped win a cup. As Cologne was having problems financially, he went to Alba Berlin in the middle of the 2007-2008 season helping them win the championship in 2008 and cup in 2009. He then played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and last season with FC Bayern Munich played 30 games: 12.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.0apg, FGP-3(66.4%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 58.0%. Currently, he is averaging 9,6ppg, 5,1rpg and 2,5apg. Jan Jagla also returns back to the Beko BBL after playing in other countries for six years. Jagla is a 30 year old 213cm forward from Berlin Germany. A seven-foot power forward with the skill set of a guard. Can post up and score inside and is a great three point shooter as well. Was compared too much times to Dirk Nowitzki at his teenage days, and this limited his maturation. He started his basketball career at Lichterfelde and then went to the States to play NCAA ball at Penn St. He then played for Panellinios Athens (Greece-A1): 3 games: 2.3ppg, 1.0rpg: released in Nov.’04 and joined Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (1.Bundesliga): 26 games: 6.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.0bpg, 2FGP: 55.6%, 3FGP: 30.2%. In 2005-2006, he had a taste of the NBA playing with the Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), waived in Oct.’05, then signed at Drac Inca Mallorca (Spain-LEB, starting five): 28 games: 11.3ppg, Reb-5(7.8rpg), 1.4bpg, 2FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 77.1%. From 2006-2011, he played for top tams in Europe including Turk Telekom Ankara, DKV Joventut Badalona (Spain-ACB,) from 2007-2009 where he played with Demond Mallet and Ricky Rubio and helped win the ULEB Cup in 2008. The last two years, he played for Polish Euroleague team Asseco Prokom Gdynia . He has played 40 Euroleague games and has been part of the German national team since 2006. Last season he played for Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland-PLK, starting five): Polish League: 2 games: 4.0ppg, 5.0rpg; Polish League: Euroleague: 10 games: 5.6ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 66.7%; VTB League: 4 games: 11.0ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 66.7%, in Dec.’10 moved to Turk Telekom Ankara (Turkey-TBL): 16 games: 4.5ppg, 2.4rpg. Currently, he is averaging 8,4ppg and 4,5rpg.

Jonathan Wallace is playing his second season with FC Bayern Munich and is a 25 year old 187cm guard from Alabama that is playing his second season with FC Bayern Munich. He played at Georgetown from 2004-2008 reaching the NCAA Final 4 in 2007. In 2008-2009, he played for Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-1A), Adriatic League: 8 games: 4.4ppg, 1.3rpg; Euroleague: 4 games: 6.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg; left in Nov.’08, in Feb.’09 moved to EWE Baskets Oldenburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): German League: 18 games: 1.7ppg; EuroChallenge: 2 games: 0.5ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0apg. In 2009-2010, he played for Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League) becoming D-league champion playing 58 games: 10.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 88.1%. Last season for FC Bayern Munich he played 30 games: 15.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 83.8%. Currently he is averaging 7,6ppg and 1,8rpg. German national player Steffen Hamann returns for a second season to Munich. Hamann is a 30 year old 194cm guard from Bamberg. He started his career at Bamberg in 1997 and played there until 2008. He was Beko BBL champion twice with Bamberg. He played for Alba Berlin from 2008-2010 winning the Beko BBL cup in 2009. Last season for FC Bayern Munich, he played 20 games: 10.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 4.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 85.9%. Before coming to Munich, he has played 88 FIBA international club games. He has been a member of the German national team since 2003 winning the silver at the 2005 European championships. Currently he is averaging 7,4ppg, 1,8rpg and 4,6apg. Phillip Schwethelm is a 22 year old 201cm forward that is playing his first season in Munich. He started his basketball career with Cologne in 2004, where he played until 2009. He played Euroleague at the age of 17. He helped Cologne win the Beko BBL title in 2006. He played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven from 2009-2011 and last year played 36 games: 10.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 72.9%. He has been a member of the German national team since 2010. Currently he is averaging 5,3ppg and 3,9rpg.

Demond Greene is playing his second season for FC Bayern Munich and is a 32 year old 185cm guard that was born in Fort Hood Texas. He is spectacular point guard or shooting guard, great athlete, not very tall but he can jump and dunk, good shooter and is a former long-jumper. He started his career at TuS Aschaffenburg in 1996. He then played together with Dirk Nowirzki,Robert Garrett and Marvin Willoughby at DJK S.Oliver Wurzburg. Greene played for DJK S.Oliver Wurzburg from 1997 to 2002. He then played for Bayer 04 Giants Leverkusen from 2002-2005. He then played for ALBA Berlin from 2005-2007. He then played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg from 2007-2009. In 2009-2010, he played for Gymnastikos Olympia Larissas (Greece-A2). Last season, for FC Bayern Munich, he played 5 games: 6.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 80.0%. Greene is a four time Beko BBL All Star, won the Beko BBL cup in 2006 with Alba Berlin and has been a member of the German national team in 2000-2001 and from 2004 until present winning the Silver at the 2005 European championships. Currently he is averaging 4,4ppg and 1,3rpg. Darius Hall is a 38 year old 201cm center from Detroit, Michigan. He is playing his eighth season in Germany and second with FC Bayern Munich. He is a is a player who loves to make the show. His dunks make the crowd explode. He is a fantastic player who is always at 200%. His athleticism ability are unbelievable, he can dunk on anybody. Great finisher in the paint. A great scorer when the game begin to be HOT. He played at W.Kentucky (NCAA) from 1991-1995. From 1995-2004 before he came to Germany, he played four years in France, three years in Belgium and two seasons in Spain. He played for the Artland Dragons from 2004-2010 winning the Beko BBL cup in 2008 and playing a total of 237 games. Last season for FC Bayern Munich, he played 29 games: 9.3ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP-2(66.9%), FT: 44.1%. Currently he is averaging 3,2ppg and 1,5rpg. Bogdan Radosavljevic is a 18 year old 211cm German/Serb that is playing hiss econd season for FC Bayern Munich. Last season he played 7 PRO A games: 3.0ppg, 2.0rpg, also a license to play at FC Bayern Muenchen II (Germany-2.Regionalliga): 12 games: 9.0ppg. Recently he played at the European Championships U18 in Wroclaw (Poland) -11: 8 games: 13.9ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 67.7%, FT: 54.8%.

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